Going a little off the bird topic and on to my other favorite group of vertebrates, fish. I am a fisherman, mostly a fly-fisherman, although I grew up in the UK fishing all three disciplines. We went GAME FISHING for Salmon and Trout with fly-rods (and sometimes spin tackle), sat for endless hours COURSE FISHING for carp and pike, and spent many cold Winter days SEA FISHING either by surf-casting or by fishing from piers. Fishing was very much a core of my childhood outdoor life and, while it was ultimately surpassed by birding in terms of time and attention, I still occasionally pick up a fly-rod and have cast them into waters as far flung as Alaska, Quebec, Argentina and Japan over the years. I am also completely fascinated by the diversity of fish, which in may ways is the same fascination I have for the diversity of birds. Fish are just harder to go and watch.
|Smallmouth Buffalo - Photo by Ben Cantrell - the image that started me off|
on a fish theme this morning.
|Ben Cantrell - a leader in the Rough Fishing movement|
This article led me to a whole other world of folks who actively fish for these species, a world called Rough Fishing (cousin of the UK's Course Fishing?) and to some fascinating stories from that sub-culture.
One of the best blogs I found was Ben Cantrell's Fish Species Blog which details adventures with fish that aren't all Bass and Trout. One of the best articles, and a revelation to me, was a post on "Microfishing" where folks go out and pursue species usually considered too small to have any sporting interest. The name of the game isn't a macho battle against a giant fish but rather a celebration of the diversity of fish species. Now they really had my attention, as for years I'd keep a list of species of fish I'd caught with a fly-rod but had always been too self conscious to go deliberately target tiny fish just to add to my list. But other people do!
|Redband Darter: Photo by Ben Cantrell (hoping he doesn't mind the shout out)|
|Steve Wozniak (and friend) with a Silver Buffalo|
After reading about his exploits for hours I was itching to go and catch fish and to re-start my fishing life list (would eBird include fish do you think?). I also had an urge to share - fish conservation is unglamorous and all the money and attention gets sucked up by the 'sport' fish leaving a lot of great native species struggling for attention. Read some of the blogs. There are good people doing important work out there.