Sunday, December 07, 2008

There Were Fish Too


The top shot was taken through my fishing sunglasses.
Later the angle of the sun improved and the fish moved from the tannin river water to the clear spring water.

That allowed me to get the shot below.



Last week I shared photographs of the birds and manatees at Manatee Springs State Park.

In doing so, I neglected to share the fish photos from the same day ... which is pretty weird considering that the Fishes are just about my favorite vertebrates ... falling somewhere between dogs and my children.


No need to discuss the order of that affection list ... children can be so sensitive sometimes.



On that chilly morning at Manatee, the namesake Sirenians were not the only creatures basking in the 72 degree spring water. A large school of big carp were lined up in the spring outflow also. The slight ripple across the surface and the angle of the sun made them difficult to photograph, but (delete, delete, delete, ad infinitum ...) after culling out the worst, I did get a shot or two to share.


Now, Florida is not a very carpy place. Oh sure ... there's a lot more carping in the stores, restaurants, and movie theaters during the winter when the snow birds arrive, but we just don't have ideal conditions for the scalier version.



Carp in America are exotics of course and most of them come from the temperate regions of Asia, so we are not their preferred habitat.


The carp in my pictures are big with the long body characteristic of the White Amur, also known as Grass Carp. The grass carp is often stocked in ponds as a natural aquatic plant control strategy, since they are voracious vegetarians.
The problem with that is they are an exotic species that don't belong here and can cause problems of their own with our native fishes.

The solution is genetics. The eggs get a pressure treatment at the hatchery that produces sterile fingerlings. Sterile grass carp are not such a risk to the environment should they escape a pond and find their way into a river.

So a little genetic engineering produces a nice nonchemical aquatic weed control agent that even the state of Florida will let someone like me stock in my pond.
Of course these fish do require dihydrogen monoxide, so I won't be stocking any in MY pond for awhile.

I've seen so many of these carp over so many years in the Suwannee and Santa Fe River watershed, that I assume this is a breeding population from the days before triploidy sterilization procedures.

I did find this site about fishing for them (yes, yes, I know the carp / board recipe joke ...) so I might have to give it a try when I get my kayak.

I envision a Nantucket Sleigh Ride (traditional definition) only southern style.



In other less fishy news:
  • The kumquat tree that I thought had frozen down to the sour orange rootstock below the graft turns out to STILL be a kumquat tree!!! Woohoo! Now, I can quit ignoring it and feed it some fertilizer ... poor thing ... look at those yellow leaves. These are one of the few citrus trees that can handle North Florida winters.
  • The first coat of poly varnish is on the living room floor and after I click publish this morning, I'll do a light fine sanding by hand and apply the second and FINAL COAT to the floor. Then it's slap on some baseboards (not as simple as that sounds, but not bad) and the room is done!!! D-O-N-E!
  • Breakfast today was one ... okay two slices of homemade key lime pie and coffee so I am highly energized and motivated.
  • The pig was officially tagged and registered for the fair yesterday. We loaded her up early and she was a very good girl during the procedure.
  • I found the prettiest little ringneck snake yesterday and will share his pics tomorrow.

Have an excellent Sunday. It's gorgeously sunny and 46 degrees here today at 9:36 am.

12 comments:

Pablo said...

So what's the next chore when you have the room D-O-N-E? I hope whatever it is it won't involve really long ladders.

(Still younger than you) One of your Oldest Blogging Buddies!

TROLL said...

When I was a Yute, the local preserve PAID US A BOUNTY for carp and catfish.

threecollie said...

I thought they were carp, but I didn't expect them to be carp so... we have carp here...Nice shots...I can't do fish, but I keep trying.

Miz S said...

D-O-N-E is good! Yay D-O-N-E! Then you can bask in the afterglow of a job well D-O-N-E.

Deb said...

We have plenty of common carp here in temperate Minnesotarctica. Grass carp are verboten.

I didn't know you were supposed to sand in between coats! Of course, we take short cuts here.

Floridacracker said...

Pablo,
Well, the outside of the house is way overdue for a new stain coat. That is not very skilled work tho, so I will invite my children to grab a brush.
Then the kitchen needs tile.

Troll,
I understand the carp, but catfish?

3C,
It helps to have crystal clear spring water and a lofty perch like I had.

Miz S,
And I do love afterglow.


Deb,
The first coat raises the wood grain, so a very light sanding with fine sandpaper knocks that down and the second coat is glass smooth.
I'm not makin' this up I promise :)

SophieMae said...

Wholly carp, Batman! Look at the size of those things! They're not just for your goldfish pond anymore. NICE shots!

Kool kumquat, as well. We used to have a k-tree... when we lived on Kumquat Dr. 8-]

Gin said...

Canned carp are better than salmon any day. No, I'm not kidding. Try it sometime if you have a pressure canner. Good eating.

Thunder Dave said...

So how do you eat a kumquat, straight off the tree or do you have to do some sort of preparation? We've got a wierd fruit here that I'll try to post on when we can eat it. It was described to me as if it may be related!

Floridacracker said...

Sophie,
They were HUGE ... 3 footers some of them. Love dem kumquats!

Gin,
Without checking I bet you are from the Great Lakes region.
Right?

ThunderD,
You eat the whole quat, skin is sweet, pulp is sour ... combination is wonderful!

Gin said...

No, not the Great Lakes. I'm Kentucky, but I'm country Kentucky with better 'n passing knowledge of flatbottom boats, trotlines and bank poles. Had to find something to do with all those carp we caught while fishin' for yellow cats. Turned out the carp were better than the flatheads.

Floridacracker said...

Gin,
Oops. I missed it. I know Scandanavians do some weird pickling and canning of fish so I guessed the Minnesota area.
I'm a fresh fish eater, but not much for the canned species :)