Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

June 11, 2013

Ospreys are cool.

I've been following this pair of Ospreys as a way to fill my head with happy distractions and to find hope and light in the face of so much bad news. The Chesapeake Conservancy Osprey Webcam has become my favorite reality TV show. It's real, it's natural, and it's unaffected. It is the opposite of MTV, SPIKE, and all the other mind-numbing black holes.

Enjoy. Be real. Do real.

 To learn more about the Chesapeake Conservancy, please CLICK HERE. Cheers!

 

Repeat after me: "Don't eat farm-raised Salmon."

May 9, 2013

Yep!

I should start saving cartoons... this one hits it.
Happy Friday, visitors!
Go Fishing :)

April 18, 2013

Would you do this to your Cats or Dogs?

I hate this practice.
Stringing, hanging, or pegging dead fishes just plain goes against my moral center.
It's embarrassing...
Congratulations. You caught dinner.
Now show some humility.
And some humanity.
(Photo via Facebook. A deep well of offensive images...)

Octopuses Really ARE Cool ~!

Every once in a while I'm reminded that there are other creatures besides fishes that deserve the 'COOL' label.
Yep, Octopuses are cool.

April 14, 2013

TAKE MY MONEY! :)

I just finished my taxes.
I should be depressed... I'm being taxed for working!
But right now I'm actually quite happy.
After getting over the amount due and the accompanying self-pity, I logged onto FB and pulled up this photo:

Infinity.
It dawned on me:
My net-worth is not measured in dollars.
Intangibles can't be measured...

Take my money, government.
Please use it well.

But this can never be taxed or taken, because it's immeasurable.

April 12, 2013

Saving Shad

Boy Howdy.
Seems like I go through long droughts of no news, no news... then, tons of NEWS!

This is great!
A well-organized and planned effort to re-establish the pre-existing shad fishery in the Delaware River. The results of these efforts will also benefit the Atlantic Bight and beyond. While I have not had one-on-one conversations, it's pretty obvious that these folks are determined to undo huge obstacles.

Shad and their brethren need to spawn. Until such time as the dams come down and the rivers run free and clean, it appears to me that the Delaware River Shad Fishermen's Association are willing to transport the fish one, two, three, and four at a time. So that the fish can do just that... spawn.

Below is a fellow named Phil Papineau with a net-full of the future. We have never met and may never will. Regardless, he has my deep thanks and admiration.
Way to go.
That is so cool.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE.



Bragging on a Good Thing

Bragging on my cohort and coauthor, Luiz Rocha, Ichthyologist and Curator at the California Academy of Sciences. He is not only a gifted scientist, but also a passionate educator and conservationist.

To visit Luiz's California Academy of Sciences' page, please CLICK HERE.

April 10, 2013

Fishing for Litter - Scotland

This is great.
Rather than turning their backs on a problem that is pre-existing, ongoing, and might seem overwhelming -- these fishermen have adopted a positive attitude and taken up the cause.
Our oceans have become our dumping grounds. Out of sight out of mind, as they say. But for those who make their livings on the water, the problem is never out of sight.
My hat off to the folks who thought up this initiative, and to the fishermen who are making it happen.

Wouldn't it be fabulous if this program goes GLOBAL?

April 1, 2013

Ripples into Waves

I received this photo today from Dr. Donald Orth who teaches Ichthyology at Virginia Tech.
Needless to say, it made my day... week... month! It's tremendously rewarding to see my work help others with their work. These terrific students are the future!

It will remind me why I invested 5.5 years into A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes - from Maine to Texas, any why I'm investing another 4 into its Pacific counterpart. It will also serve as big motivation to keep on illustrating, to stay focused, and to remember the big picture:

Conservation, education, preservation.

Virginia Tech Ichthyology

March 26, 2013

Cordell Bank - a sound investment

I love this!
A simple concept set to simple music and illustrated in simple fashion.

Water > phytoplankton > krill > fish > bigger fish > even BIGGER fish.

Krill are one of the most important links in the chain.

But let's not forget: the chain really starts with water. Keep it clean, folks!

March 22, 2013

How Do I Count the Ways?

This evening I received a copy of my book so that I could personalize it as a send-off for a student who is moving on to greater things.
When I opened the cover I was blown away.

THIS is why I spent 5.5 years constructing the book, and why I'm investing another 4 more years into it's West Coast companion... the book means something. It's doing good work.

The student's name is Rachael, and I've never met her.
But, she's used my book and used it well. Clearly.

I've written my best in my best scrawl in the lower corner left specially for me.
Oh my handwriting is horrible!
("Stick to painting, cousin.")

I hope she's one of many stewards of the future.
Signs point that way...
Cheers, Rachael!

March 15, 2013

Fishy Friday - Sculpins DON'T Rock

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know, I know.
I'm on the record as saying that I love all fishes. It's true.
But for Pete's sake, I'm allowed to get tired of certain families of fishes, no? I'm only human, yes?

Having finished illustrating ALL of the Rockfishes for our upcoming book (see post below), I quickly moved on to Sculpins.

Ugh. Sculpins.
Most are small. All are cryptic. Many have numerous color variants in addition to sexually dimorphic male and female forms. Most rarely, if ever, get themselves off the bottom long enough to show off their pelvic and anal fins. Additionally, they are one of the most diverse and successful groups of fishes on Earth... There are 93 (93!) species of Sculpins from Alaska to California. If you include related fishes such as Grunt Sculpin, Sea Ravens, Poachers, and Fathead Sculpins, the number inflates to 132 species.

So, how do I attack the whole lot without going out of my mind? One complicated illustration at a time.

Below is the Crested Sculpin which is not even a Sculpin -- it's a Sea Raven. This painting is in the final stages of illustration, is about life-size, and took no less than 13 hours to complete. No wonder, it's more exasperatingly complex than any Cottid ever hoped to be.

Man oh man, am I looking forward to illustrating good 'ole boring Perciforms!

OK, end of rant.
On to another...

March 3, 2013

Fins in Motion

Cut a piece of paper into a long, narrow strip.
Fold in half.
Hold the ends of the paper in your fingertips with the apex of the fold pointing up.
The folded paper should look like a tall, skinny tent.

Now, move your fingers up and down in opposite directions:
Right side down, left side up.
Your finger motion recreates the muscle motion at the ray base, moving the ray back and forth.

Now imagine 20 or 30 rays all in sync like a line of chorus girls... undulating.

And THAT is how many fish propel themselves.

Cool, huh?


February 17, 2013

Work, Fate, Accomplishment...

Executive Editor, Vince Burke, and Bebby Bors, Senior Production Editor, JHUPress
I firmly believe that if you work hard, invest fully in your goal, keep your nose clean, and mix it up with like-minded and similarly-driven people, good things are bound to happen.

Yes, fate steps in now and again: a right turn here, a left turn there... luck, chance, stars aligning. However randomly paths seem to meander, paths DO cross. Paths can cross in wonderful ways and result in wonderful accomplishments. If you're lucky?

Above is a photo of my fantabulous executive editor, Vince Burke, and my equally fantabulous production editor, Debby Bors. They stand in the entry hall of the Johns Hopkins University Press holding our latest achievement: A Field Guide to Fishes of the Chesapeake Bay. Behind them are shelves and shelves of other note-worthy books and numerous awards our nation's oldest university press has amassed.

Some five years ago I had an idea: revamp the out-dated and out-of-print Fishes of Chesapeake Bay. I posed the idea to Vince not knowing that he ALREADY had plans to do the same. He made phone calls, set up meetings, and ba-da-bing, ba-da-bong: the team of Murdy, Musick, and Kells was assembled; the proposal was written; the contracts were signed. Soon thereafter we began work on a current, comprehensive, and much-needed guide to fishes of one the of the largest estuaries in North America. The paths of many determined people had crossed.

It's hard to describe how fulfilling it is to see years of past work come to fruition many months later and long after the project was put to bed. Every one had moved on to other projects, other work, new goals. Suddenly... surprise! It's in print! Look what we did!

It was no accident. Stars aligned for a reason.

Fish on.

February 7, 2013

Tarpon Rock...

For no other reason than sharing the gorgeousness of Tarpon...

Fishy Friends

I have lots of cool friends. Many share my fish-geeky tendencies, others do not. Yet those who do not still have an appreciation for my passion, just as I have an appreciation for theirs. That's what friends do! They get behind each other, cheer, commiserate, and share the challenges, failures, and successes.
Even though I may never go fishing with some of my friends, it doesn't matter... and never will.

This is my friend Carlin. I've known her for over 25 years. We are very different, but very alike. We both love nature. We both love our families. We're both sensitive and creative. Neither of us cares about high-falutin' cocktail parties or pretentious fund-raisers - we'd rather wear our torn blue jeans and make an anonymous donation. We're comfortable in our own skin. I know who I am, she knows who she is, and we don't worry about impressing.

Carlin has more energy than a hurricane and is busier than a damselfish. She owns one of the most original, successful, and eclectic shops in town: C&A Camp. She poured her soul into making just so. It reflects her unique blend of whit and diversity. It oozes with enthusiam, as does she.

When she got ahold of my book she flipped her lid. It struck her in her heart. She saw the passion I'd poured into it. And true to form, she had to share it with her close core of passionate compatriots. So she bought a box full of books and found some time to meet me so we could personalize them before she sent them off to places far and wide.

Here she sits in her make-shift office writing heart-felt notes in my heart-wrent book. God bless her.

One of my mini goals is to get her into a boat with me and take her fishing. It will probably never come to pass, but that's OK. We are bound by deeper ties.

February 1, 2013

Fish boy goes skiing

OK.
So, my son is my best fishing bud. I taught him at a very early age, and thank goodness he still likes fishing with me. It's a copasetic and competitive deal. He can out-fish me when he tries and there's a lot of "Who got more?" or, "Who's fish was bigger?" But we always have a great time and don't really care about the score. Keeping score just makes it more interesting.

Anyway, he's now a student at Montana State University. He's a long way away from the ocean. And yet, he rode his bike miles and miles, then hiked a few more to go fishing for trout. When the season turned and the snow started to fall, he hung up the fly rod and bought a season pass to Bridger Bowl - the ginormous ski resort outside of Bozeman.

Big mountains. Steep runs. Deep passes and drop-offs. Lots of snow.

Thus, his latest and greatest back-flip into snow that will evaporate or melt into water which will eventually find its way to the ocean. So we can catch more fish. Together.
Yay.

January 24, 2013

Doomed???

Straight-forward and to-the-point.
Time to take reverse-action!
Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Conserve, preserve, protect...

January 22, 2013

Imagine...

Your child, your children... strangled, left to suffocate, die, and rot.
Mother sharks have no vote, no say about how we treat their offspring.
We are obligated to speak and do for them what they can't do for themselves.

Please CLICK HERE.

Saving Animals (whether they know it or not!)

When ever given the opportunity to rescue an animal, I take the chance - even if it means putting myself at risk. Some folks are simply predisposed to act when an animal is in need.

Some of the animals I've rescued seem oblivious. Others are frightened. Still others seem to know that I'm helping... they relax and allow me to handle them without fighting back.

In this video the dolphin clearly seems to know that the divers are trying to help. The animal repeatedly returns to the diver and turns itself so the diver can work on removing the fishing line. The only logical conclusion for this behavior? The dolphin knows it's hurt, and knows the diver is helping. Intelligent thinking...



January 14, 2013

Even Embryos Know

Evolution is so cool.
Fishes have developed a multitude of ways to detect prey and avoid being detected by predators:
Sight, smell, taste, sound, vibration... electrical current.
Turns out even embryonic sharks have ways to sense if a possible predator is near.
Another argument to support shark conservation... We've only just begun to understand them. And clearly, there is still much to be learned.



January 3, 2013

Two Kinds of Bears

Every once and again someone creates a video that is all at once goofy, spoofy, and funny while also being educational. Enjoy!

December 29, 2012

Damn...


On December 26, the US Coast Guard confiscated five miles of illegal gill net off of San Padre Island, Texas, USA. They were set at night by Mexican fishermen who crossed into US waters. The net killed 345 sharks and an untold number of other species. The fishermen were not caught or prosecuted. Their only loss was their time, fuel, and nets. The sharks paid the ultimate cost.

CLICK HERE for more information.

December 14, 2012

SCORE ONE FOR Menhaden!!!




Sorry for the long delay between posts. I've been so busy with work that this had to take the back seat for a spell. BUT, I've finished illustrating all (count 'em, ALL) of the ROckfishes, and having moved on to Sculpins I'm finding small windows of time to share news, resources, and personal insights... at least for now :)

Menhaden have been call "The most important fish in the sea." It might be an overstatement, but not for those living along or in the western Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. They are small, very oily, schooling fishes that have played an important role ecologically and commercially for many many years. Innumerable sea birds, marine mammals, sharks, and other predatory fishes prey on Menhaden. Their flesh is packed with high-quality energy. 

In the past 30 years, purse seiners have scooped up so much Menhaden to process into fish oil products, pellets, and fertilizer that the Menhaden stocks have literally crashed. The large, dark clouds of Menhaden schools are no longer a common sight in the Chesapeake Bay. As a result, other fish stocks, such as Striped Bass, have also declined. The ensuing debate between the fish oil companies, environmentalists, scientists, fishermen, and government about how to manage the fish stocks has been mired in grid lock. Reducing catch limits puts the fish oil companies in jeopardy. But, allowing the catches to go on at current levels ALSO puts the oil companies at jeopardy. If they were allowed to take every fish, they'd put themselves, and a multitude of other companies out of business. Oh, and never mind the top predators who feed on Menhaden but don't get a vote in the process.

I realize this is a very simplified explanation, and the issue is more complex than this space allows... Bottom line: the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission today passed new regulations to cut catch of Menhaden by 20%. There are many caveats to this of course. But it is a move in the right direction and will hopefully allow Menhaden to repopulate. If they can rebound (and I think they can), businesses and marine life that depend on their presence might hopefully flourish again, too. 


CLICK HERE to read more.
Cheers!

August 26, 2012

Coelacanth

Well, I'm back. Took a little time off to spend on Ocracoke Island(awesome!) and get my son off to college...
So much to report ~!
Until I find the time to elaborate, here's a really cool video of a Coelacanth (pronounced 'see LA canth').
Ancient ancient bony fish found in remote pockets off of eastern South Africa and Indonesia. It was believed to have gone extinct some 65 million years ago until a scientist found a specimen in a fish market in 1938! Lo and behold, living fishes were found sporadically since then.
This is the best recording I've seen so far. Healthy, robust.
Cool.

July 23, 2012

Culling is not a Solution

As long humans swim in proximity of meat-eating sharks, they put themselves at risk. Period.
If we're willing to take the risk, we must also be willing to accept the possible outcome. It's not a cold or unfeeling point of view. It's simply the raw truth.

I think about this each and every time I step into the surf.

Below is a link to a compelling editorial against culling Great White Sharks off Australia in the wake of another shark 'attack'. The author makes many valid arguments in opposition of a cull, none of which are new. But he does make an interesting point I hadn't considered before: other sharks would most certainly die in the pursuit of one. Sound familiar?

CLICK HERE for article.

July 14, 2012

Illustrating Rockfishes

Rockfishes. Oh, Rockfishes...
Rockfishes are a diverse and highly successful group of fishes within the Family Scorpaenidae, or Scorpionfishes. There are currently 102 known species of Scorpaenids worldwide. They live primarily in temperate to cold seas in the northern and southern hemispheres. Most are demersal, meaning, they live close to the bottom. Most are spiny, some are venomous. They have a thing on the cheek that I can't begin to explain.

Some of you may know that I am in the midst of coauthoring and illustrating a new book to be published by the Johns Hopkins University Press. Our expected publication date is 2015. It will be titled: A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes - from Alaska to California. It will follow the layout and design of the first book (see sidebar) and will serve as a companion. The overall goal is to illustrate and describe in field guide form all of the fishes to about 600 ft. from both coasts of the continental United States. It's a Guinness Book of World Records kind-of-thing... no body has ever done this before. I'll be the first - with a lot of help, or course. Duh. It is an enormous and sometimes daunting task. But having worked for over five years on the Atlantic and Gulf book, and having been rewarded by it's tremendous success, I'm up to the challenge. (Alternative: play golf every day? Uh... no.) And when the Pacific book is out in print, wow... on to what next one? Bahamas and Caribbean Sea?

Anyway, back to Rockfishes...

Two of the largest families I illustrated for the Atlantic and Gulf book were Gobies and Flounders. I toiled over Gobies for weeks. Flounders would have done me in if I hadn't planned ahead and designated Fridays and 'Flounder Friday'. I illustrated one flounder per week for six months, thus avoiding insanity and bodily harm (think: throw myself out the window!) When I finally got to the Flounder section, the paintings were done and I only had to write and design.

Illustrating Gobies and Flounders pales in comparison to illustrating Rockfishes. (Sorry, Ed!) Gobies are slender, small, and mostly scaleless. Flounders are mostly brown, frustrating, and aesthetically boring. Regardless, I gave all my best and all illustrations are spot-on. But in true confession -- I was glad to move on.

Rockfishes just freakin' rock. They're deep-bodied, tall-spined, and often psychedelic in color and pattern. Complex. Complicated. Tricky. Many species resemble an other. There are multiple variations within many species. They change color and pattern. And when they're dead, they look nothing like themselves alive. Illustrating and describing all of the Northeastern Pacific Rockfishes will take the better part of three to four months, depending upon how many color variants we elect to include. What's three or four months? On the grander scale: A drop in the bucket. When Rockfishes are done, I'll move quickly on to Greenlings and then... Sculpins.

Guess what? There are even more Sculpins than Rockfishes. But that's another story.

Below is a short and amateurish video I shot while completing my 14th Rockfish illustration. I shot it on a Friday after having been punch drunk on Rockfishes for five previous days. It's not the best quality, and the lighting is poor, but it should give you an idea of what I'll be doing through Thanksgiving. Cheers. And, enjoy!

July 12, 2012

Advantage: Shark

When I was Tarpon fishing, my guide went off about how evil sharks are. He'd seen a lot of gamefish taken by sharks while he or a client were reeling them in or about to boat them. My son sided with this view and agreed that sharks are to blame until I later explained the following:

"He put the fish in that situation. The fish has no escape. The fish is trapped at the end of the line. The shark is only taking advantage of the situation they created." With this different perspective, my son said, "Hmmm. I guess you're right." I know I'm right.

Now for the video below: Pretty dramatic. Cool slow-mo at the end. More than likely a Bull Shark. They like to hang out in marshes and estuaries. A powerful animal once again taking advantage of an opportunity. What do we expect? They're sharks!

July 9, 2012

Barber Lab Quartet

(Power outages due to multiple summer storms... between trying to beat the heat and stay ahead on my work, I've gotten a bit behind on the fun...)

This is great. A clever spin on evolution in the 'Coral Triangle' which has been found to be home to the largest diversity of fishes on Earth. Science set to music with a few funny inside jokes thrown in... Every researcher dreams of finding new species ~!
>

June 26, 2012

The Amazing Diversity of Fishes

Clearly anyone who visits this little sight has an interest in fishes, fishing, diving, etc. I think for some, interest becomes fascination which becomes amazement. Fishes are... amazing!

Here is a very nice little primer on the Diversity of Fishes. It's fairly long, and only scratches the surface of the topic, but well worth the time to watch. Skip forward to about 4:00....

Enjoy!

The Grand Diversity of Fishes: Form, Function, and Evolution from HMNH on Vimeo.

June 20, 2012

Pond Scum Fly? You Betcha!

This cracks me up... Pond Scum Fly. Never heard of such a thing until this morning. I was actually joking when I chimed in on a Facebook post about fly fishing for Grass carp: "Tie a pond scum fly -- salad for a carp!" Turned out, someone had already invented a Pond Scum Fly. No joke....

Apparently it is fished like, well, scum! Let it drift. Twitch it like it's got a bug in it.

I have very little desire to catch a Grass carp on rod and reel. I caught some by net while relocating critters from a pond slated to be drained and filled. Grass carp are BIG, slimy, and stinky.
That said, should any of my carp-fishing readers want to try this... let us know the results!

CLICK HERE for full Pond Scum Fly post. Cheers!

June 9, 2012

Time to Kill

One of the reasons I keep rigged rods in my truck is:
This evening.
Going to formal supper.
An hour to kill.
Pond on the way.
I'm ready!
Pull over, catch 9-10 bass, have cocktails, cheese and crackers, watch Belmont Stakes, and enjoy supper all with bass slime on my hands.
Completely and absolutely normal.

Oh, I fished again on the way home:
Who wouldn't?

May 22, 2012

Teacher and Student

If you are a parent, you are a teacher. If you are a son or daughter, you are your parent's student. How we parents teach our children reflects upon us. But more importantly, how we teach our children will effect the world around them in the years to come, and long after they leave our nests.

When I first taught my boys to fish I emphasized respect, care, and stewardship above catching fish. To this day, they treat wildlife with deep reverence.

When I came across this video, I was ecstatic! Great to see another parent teaching the same important foundations. These two clearly had a great time together bonding over a stingray... But really? What a terrific role model this dad is -- and what a great role model his son will become. I hope it goes viral.

May 16, 2012

Surprise!!!

If this doesn't make you laugh... check your pulse ;)

May 7, 2012

It's An Octopus Eat Bird World

It's often been said that Octopi are among the most intelligent animals on Earth. Clearly, this picture shows how opportunistic they can be... I imagine the octopus creeping up from behind - quietly reaching a suction cup-loaded arm toward the leg of a seagull - grabbing the leg, and not letting go. This has probably happened over and over again, but this may be the first time it's been recorded. After all, seagulls and octopi live in close quarters. And the octopus is one smart dude.

CLICK HERE to read more!

April 23, 2012

Look Familiar?

Many years ago I was out fishing on Pamlico Sound with my sons. My older boy snagged the Bimini top with a big, 'ole, bait-covered hook. I nagged him to remove it, but true to form, he forgot, and there the hook stayed. Eventually, we all forgot about it...

Later in the trip, my husband joined us and we all went fishing. It was breezy and rough, and after we'd pulled the anchor I said, "Grab on, here we go!" My husband grabbed the Bimini top.

Well, you can probably guess what happened next. Yep, he hooked himself through his finger and was literally attached to the top. Panic ensued. Must have hurt like Hell!

I have a few rules on the boat: No hooks on deck, close the bait box, and ALWAYS put the knife and pliers back. So, fortunately, we had pliers.

We snipped one end of the hook and motored back to Ocracoke. From there we went to the clinic where my husband got a Tetanus shot and had the hook removed from his finger. The hook went into a very large and scary display of other hooks and paraphernalia that had come out of other fishermen. I didn't think to take a picture of the display, and wish I had! It looked very similar to the picture above. 

Sidebar: What the heck is up with the chainsaw chain??? :)

April 19, 2012

Inside Out


Came across a really neat photo album of Fish X-rays. These will be on exhibit at the Smithsonian, and will be traveling through 2015...

CLICK HERE for more information.

April 17, 2012

What Would God Think?

I can't say. But I know what I think...
This photo was posted on Facebook. Said to be taken at Kino Bay, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Wherever and whenever it was taken, it is sad, sad, sad. Disgraceful.

April 12, 2012

Bait-stealer

When I think of Bait-stealers, I think of Pinfish, Lizardfish, Blue crabs. Never Dolphins!
This guy was clever, delicate, and lucky! Instead of a free treat, he might have gotten hooked.

I wonder how much one of these underwater video cameras costs? Imagine the crazy things we'd discover.

April 7, 2012

Jose Wejebe - Fishing Ambassador

Sadly, I never had the opportunity to meet Jose Wejebe. But I know many folks who did know him and through his programs I absorbed his many insights and reflections. I looked forward to episodes of 'Spanish Fly'. He was as genuinely freaky fish geeky as I am. If I thought otherwise, I'd have changed the channel.
Public figures put themselves, their lives, their family histories, their thoughts, philosophies, and feelings into the public. We get to know them and they become part of our lives - for better or worse. Jose was a part of many lives... for the better.

What WAS it about Jose that captured so many hearts? My answer: He was genuinely enthusiastic. He was genuinely in love. He adored fishing, and fishes, and friends and family. And he loved sharing his passion for living a life on, around, and below the water. He had tremendous respect for fishes and the environment. He was gentle, sincere, and patient. He became the model of what a fisherman should be: a steward, a spokesman, a conservationist... an ambassador.

The world has lost one of its best.
He will be missed, but his message will carry on.

SPANISH FLY.

April 3, 2012

New Species of Shark


This is cool, yet scary... A new species of shark has been identified as living off the east coast of the US. It is very similar to and easily confused with the Scalloped Hammerhead, Sphryna lewini. They differ in DNA and number of vertebrae, which makes initial identification challenging.
This is good news in that more information is available to correctly assess populations of these sharks. Bad news in that previous assessments of Scalloped Hammerhead were most likely inaccurate due to misidentifications. Even worse, Scalloped Hammerheads are probably more threatened than previously thought because their numbers were likely inflated.

(Side bar: The White Marlin and Roundscale Spearfish are almost identical as well, with ranges that overlap. Thus, population assessments of both are also difficult to determine.)

What I find fascinating about this is that these fishes are BIG. When one thinks about finding new species, one first thinks of small fishes in remote places. This is just the opposite.

CLICK HERE for article.

March 29, 2012

On The Drafting Table

When I begin my day at the drafting table, the first thing do is choose which illustration to complete. Then I do exhaustive research. I dig into my library, go online, and examine all the photographic, illustrative, and video reference at my disposal.

In the worst-case scenarios, I'll find only photos of dead or pickled specimens. In best-case scenarios I'll find photos of living specimens. If I'm really lucky, I'll find video! Videos provide a treasure trove of information. Instead of one static shot, there are thousands of frames to examine. Play, pause, play, pause, play pause. Bingo! Any questions I may have had about the fish are answered...

When this video was posted on YouTube, could the poster have imagined that it would become an important tool for an illustrator on the other side of the continent?

Got video of your fishes? Put 'em on YouTube! You never know who might think it's made their day :)

On the drafting table today: Rosylip Sculpin:

March 23, 2012

AWESOME~!

I've done this before, but never caught anything... Now that I know it can be done, I'll try it again!

March 21, 2012

Fishing Vicariously :)


Marion's trout on my flies :)

As previously confessed, I am a crappie fly fisherman. But, I love tying flies. Recently, I gave a friend a bunch of Cactus chenille bead-head nymphs. They're wicked easy to tie, and apparently, fish love 'em!

My friend has a pond stocked with Rainbows. She's just taken up fly fishing and told me she would cast my flies and send pictures if she caught any fish. She landed three out of four! (See above :) I'd say that's a nice field test!

Want to tie this little bug? CLICK HERE for directions. Cheers!

March 16, 2012

Jacked

At first I didn't 'get it'. Then, when Jack after Jack after Jack stole the Tarpon bait... I got it.
Been there, done that! Though not with Jacks. But there's no difference.
Jacks, Pinfish, Lizardfish... they're all 'Bait Stealers'!

This is a long video.. 22 minutes. But what struck me about this and inspired me to post it here is the display of patience, perseverance, and tenacity of Captain Jeff. Then again, aren't all fishermen patient?

Aside: When he yells "Get outta here!!" I first thought he was yelling at other fishermen... he was yelling at the Jacks! HA!