The One…

That got away!

My sister – Joan – and I have a running joke that we have no family photographs, we have pictures of family members with fish!

That being said it becomes obvious that fish and fishing appears to be a central element in my family’s history. Jeesh who would have guessed it? I gave up a promising career as an environmental chemistry consultant to actually be happy and able to reside and fish in the most wonderful place on earth. But I digress – that must be a first! Yeah right!

So here’s the scam – as my old friend Frances X. Russel used to say (and probably still does). One of the many things that I enjoy in the winter aside having fun with friends and socializing as well as vegging when its obviously too cold to go outside ice fishing on A frozen Lake Nippissing, playing pool late night on Friday or fishing for trout and playing cards with college friends near Tionesta in the majestic Allegheny mountains, as well as going to aquarium fish auctions with my great friend Ernie. The problem with the fish auctions is that they generally aren’t held in the dead of winter. The auctions are a main source of income for thousands of local aquarium clubs all over north America and they distribute rare fish and used equipment to many many hobbyists at fire sale rates. If people don’t show up due to poor driving conditions then no one benefits. Thus the auctions are clustered in the fall and spring. Summer is right out for me as I am elsewhere.

I’ve just gotten back from an excellent aquarium fish auction sponsored by the Loraine Ohio club. It was a beautiful day and there were a lot of interesting fish and equipment on the block. In my short (~45 odd years) career as an aquarist I have successfully bred several species of fish and propagated many rare plants and distributed them through the hobby. But one of my favorite species has eluded me over the years — Rivulus xiphidius. It has recently been reclassified as Laimosemion xiphius. This is a rare and gorgeous jewel of the killifish clan and is note-worthy in its touchy nature and fastidious demands for pristine water. So Ernie and I journeyed today to the auction and lo and behold the “white whale” presented itself in the form of a pair of gorgeous young xiphidiuses! It was love at first sight! But as with so many unrequited loves it was not to be. I stumbled and stubbed my toe on my ultimate basal nature of selfish need tempered by Anglo-Saxon self denial and thriftiness – I wouldn’t pay more than 15$ for a pair of fish ! What an idiot! LOL Cest La Vie – I guess Ahab has a few more years yet to pursue his quarry.

As an aside I heartily recommend anyone that is interested in keeping interesting aquarium denizens to investigate the dates for your local aquarium society auctions and check them out – you’ll be surprised at the interesting people and how welcoming and happy they will be to pass vast knowledge on to anyone with the penchant to know.

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One thought on “The One…

  1. When I read your sentiment about foregoing a traditional career to have the lifestyle of owning Sportsmen’s Camp, I was reminded of a beautiful quote I came across this morning by John Muir:

    “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity.”

    Kudos to you for realizing that as a young man, and living by it. . .

    . . .Even if a byproduct is that you won’t spring 50 bucks to catch your white whale. . .

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