Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

February 22, 2011

Reef Fishes

Puddingwife - Long Island Bahamas. Hand-lining.

I've come to understand that folks largely do not realize I illustrated virtually every reef fish that occurs from Maine to Texas. See, I'm a card-carrying rabid fisherman with an inner-ear issue. I can't equalize my ears! So, I'm limited to snorkeling. Which is fine, if you can find cool places to snorkel!

So, I'm known more as a fisherman than a diver. Well, I'm also a card-carrying ichthyologeek. I love ALL fishes. But, I digress...

When I got to the part of the book that included blennies, damsels, and (Lord!) the wrasses, I realized there was no way I'd make the deadline. We simply had to include all the juveniles, all the initial and terminal phases. They were there, they were common, and they lived over shallow reefs. So, I did some math and presented an extension proposal to my editor: "Leaving out the juveniles and females would be like writing a book about humans and leaving out women and children." I asked for six more months. He gave me nine. And that's how virtually ALL the reef fishes made it into the book.

I've been invited to speak at Dive Connections in April. I'm really looking forward to it. It will be a great venue to talk about the abundant wreck and reef fishes. And, I'd like to get their reaction toward another book idea I've have in the back of my mind (hint: reef fishes). Perhaps they'll prod me to take a stab at diving again. If I can figure out how to equalize my ears!

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