Thursday, April 21, 2016

Post Traumatic Fishing Disorder

I remember some things that have happened in my life way better than others because either the memory was super cool or super terrifying. One of the more terrifying moments in my life was the first time I touched a fish. My grandpa is an avid fisher and was determined to teach my sister and I the ways of the fish. He decided to take us to a nearby trout farm. Once we arrived at the farm, we got our bamboo fishing poles and set up camp next to one of the ponds that was filled to the brim with trout. There was so many fish in that single pond that we didn’t even need to bait our hooks. To be honest, putting a worm on a hook scared me a whole lot more than the actual fish did. It wasn’t long until I got a tug on my line. I was so excited that I actually caught my first fish, that I dropped my pole and did a little dance. To say the least, my grandpa was not thrilled about my dance or the fact that I almost lost a pole to the fish at the end of my line. Because we had bamboo fishing poles, the only way to get the fish out of the pond was to yank it out and hope that the fish came with it. So I mustered all the strength I had and yanked that fish out. Unfortunately,  I didn’t follow through with my yank because before I knew it, that trout at the end of the line came flying at me and smacked me square in the face.
Quillback Carpsucker
For years since that day, I was too terrified to even touch a fish. That is until this semester. When I declared my major as wildlife and fisheries biology, I thought that I would be handling wildlife on a daily basis. But I was definitely wrong about that. We talk about wildlife for than anything but this semester I got to take a class that turned out to be one of my absolute favorites. Fisheries biology has been such a great class to help me get over my fear of fish and even learn a lot about fish in the process. I never knew that there was so much information on fish that I never even knew. But probably the best part of the class was actually learning and doing different fish sampling techniques, which meant that we got to handle the things that we were learning so much about. Two of the more notable fish that we caught was a Notchlip Red Horse and a Quillback Carpsucker. Both are part of the sucker family (Catostomidae) but the Notchlip is more noticeably part of the sucker family because of the shape of its mouth. When in spawning season, the males have tubercles that form on its head, anal fin, and the lower lobe of the caudal fin. The Quillback Carpsucker looks a lot like a carp but can be distinguished from the carp by their lack of barbels around the mouth.

Notchlip Red Horse

Over all, I think that I have really learned a lot more about freshwater fish in these past 3 months than I could have learned about in an entire lifetime. This class has prepared me for the summer in the Keys by allowing me to learn more about the anatomy of a fish and how it affects the way that they live and the food that they can eat. I can honestly say that fisheries biology has easily been my favorite wildlife class that I have ever taken.

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