Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Long And The Short Of It

If you looked at all the alligator shots in the last several posts, the fish in this post is gonna look familiar to you. No. It's not an alligator. It's an alligator Gar. A throwback to the dinosaur age like the reptiles that also inhabit the Glades. Fascinating to look at. Some might say "ugly." But we came across a roadside pool that had thousands of them schooling in much the same fashion as minnows might do. We caught (and released) a boatload of them (but without the boat). Why? Well the story goes that the recipe for cooking gar is as follows: Bake the fish on a cedar plank in the oven for three hours having seasoned it to taste before baking. When it's cooked, take it out of the oven, remove the fish and throw it away...then eat the plank, because it is considerably tastier and easier to eat then the fish is!

We were actually in the glades again this time looking to catch Oscars. Yes. It is the same as the aquarium fish by the same name. Your pet shop probably got them from the Everglades too. Sure, they make good (and big) aquarium fish, but they are mighty tasty too. In the pet shop, 15 bucks a piece. Out here, only the price of a dozen worms or so. But there were none to be found at the first stop so up the road we went to try another of the many bridges where the sheet flow of the glades passes under the roadway and back into the grasslands on the other side of the road. At first no bites. Then it started. But only small fish- sun fish and bass. Throw them back. All of a sudden, Marilyn's bobber went under and she set the hook. This one was not so little. After an awesome display of fighting skill on the part of the fish (ah, I mean Marilyn) I pulled the big guy up on the bank for her. Nearly 26 inches in length (long) and I'm guessing between 5 and 6 pounds, the Bowfin was an unusual catch for us (a first for either) and we had to get out the Florida Game Fish book for the ID. It didn't match the color patterns of the illustration exactly, but the fin positioning left no doubt. Turns out it has both gills and fins and can breathe even out of the water but we returned it to its pool without undue delay. A day later now, Marilyn is still bragging on her big fish and asking when we can get back out there and catch some more. Beginners luck has always been more important than skill---or so I am telling myself in consolation. And I could probably make that work for me had I not been the one to catch the shortest (and I do mean shortest) catch of the day right before we decided we needed to head back to the rig. Watch for the last shot in the slide show. Humiliating, but document-able! Oh, and no Oscars on this day.

1 comment:

Mark R said...

Looks like a record fish...smallest.