Sheepshead

SheepsheadI don’t know anyone who enjoys going to the dentist. You have to sit there, wearing a paper bib, with a person’s hand in your mouth. If left unchecked, I find myself holding on to the the armrests for dear life. It’s an effort to relax and let the dental hygienist do her thing while remaining composed. Again–you have a person’s hand in your mouth.

I think about this when I’m fishing with my dad and brother. Especially when we catch Sheepshead. It’s startling to see their mouths: full of human-looking teeth. No, I don’t mean their teeth look like tiny humans. They look like human teeth. Behold…

Sheepshead teeth

VA Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)

Imagine having to do a bi-annual cleaning in that mouth.

 

Snook

snook

 

Around 1988, my family moved to a little town on the Gulf Coast of Florida called “Bonita Springs.” It was small. There was no movie theater or mall, but you could go to the K-Mart on a Saturday afternoon for entertainment. It’s difficult to describe this place because:

1. It looks very different now, developers moved in and built strip malls and housing and golf courses. And a movie theater.

2. It was wild to me, I had spent my early years in the more “urban” suburbs of Pittsburgh: a community established before George Washington was wondering around as a surveyor.

Anyway, there were wild animals everywhere: snakes, panthers, all kinds of birds, alligators, raccoon, rabbits, turtles, tortoises, wild hogs, bobcats, armadillos, lizards. These are just the ones I’ve witnessed with my own TWO EYEBALLS.

Bonita Springs was known for the annual “Tomato-Snook Festival.” Oh, what is that you ask? Just Southwest Florida’s premiere event featuring the fabulous sport fish: the tiger snook and local major crop: tomatoes. What goes on at the festival? Oh, let me tell you: a queen is crowned “Ms. Tomato-Snook,” food is served, food contests are contested, money is raised for local charities, dancing, art, concerts. It’s kinda a big deal. So yea, a Snook is a fish.

Red Lipped Batfish

RedLippedBatfish_web

The next time someone tells you, “Oh! He swims like a fish.” Let me assure you, they are not referring to the Red Lipped Batfish. And that is because they are terrible swimmers. In fact, they “walk” on the bottom of the sea on adapted pectoral fins (the little fins that would be like hands, “Hiya! I’m a fish”).

I’ve found several references to the Red Lipped Batfish being called “ugly.” I think this is a very narrow and quite uninformed point of view. They have such lovely red lips! A color worn by super models in any fashion magazine. They may have knobby skin and a big dangly skin fishing pole on the top of their head for luring prey, but it’s like a lovey hat and very useful.

Haters gonna hate.