Friday, September 16, 2005
Generations of Fish
This photo shows my Dad and his brother, (my Uncle Richard). In the photo, my Dad is on the right in the lighter clothing, Uncle Richard on the left. This was a day's fishing back in 1959...I was almost 1 year old and not invited on this trip.
When I look at this picture, I see the obvious, a great catch of mostly redfish (Sciaenops ocellatus), a black drum (center right with stripes...Pogonias cromis ), and a flounder (the flatfish on the left....
The reels are the older baitcasting type and the rods are calcutta cane. The tackle tells me they were fishing live shrimp beneath floats, you can see the floats on the rods.
This catch was the result of a day fishing in a simple plywood skiff...no fiberglass boats in 1959. You can bet the outboard motor was American made by OMC.
The other thing I see in this picture is a view of two young men in their prime, confident and a little cocky after one great day of fishing. Even by 1959 standards this was a very good day.
If I listen to the photo, I can hear the exclamations of their pretty young wives when they arrived home as the "fish conquering heroes". I can hear them at work the next day telling the story over and over again to anyone who would listen.
I can smell the fish frying that night or soon after. Even today, when I mention this picture, my dad will describe the day's events as if it were yesterday.
Fish and fishing runs through my family, my friends, my memories, and sometimes I think....my genes. I know there's nothing unique in that fact. Fishing is popular in millions of families, but we tend to think our own histories are special somehow.
Today, you can still catch these fish, but there are a lot more people fishing, and so today you could never keep so many redfish. Even though I grew up in those past times of "fish-a-plenty", I live in the present world of less fish and tight bag limits.
Although I'll never cover the garage floor with redfish, I still get to chase them through the marshy creeks and grassy flats. When I do catch a red these days, odds are I'll let it go.
I guess more than bag limits have changed, my attitude towards the fish has changed too. Not such an adversarial relationship anymore.
After all, I run through their families just as they run through mine.
Posted by R.Powers at 6:06 PM