Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

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

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.