As to fishing, I have never really fished for carp, nor have I fished for snakeheads. Well, that is not completely accurate since I have caught some really nice sized grass carp and a number of Bullseye snakeheads, but these are exotic species introduced into Florida and they are different than the native species folks talk about here on SL.
I have photos of each after being caught but I’ll be darned if I can find ‘em. I knew I also had a photo of the first large tarpon I caught, but I could not find that either - until I literally ran into it hanging on the wall outside the guest bathroom. I can thank my ex-wife for saving/hiding that one from me. She made a collage of tarpon photos from my archives. She jokingly suggested I loved fishing for tarpon more than her. It seems she might have been on to something since I am still very fond of tarpon.
Sorting through all of the old-fashion printed photos from when cameras required film made me realize that I have personally been responsible for a large number of dead fish. At least I can rationalize that by knowing 99% of them were consumed as food. Still, it does not sit well. Recently, I had the gnawing realization that today we, at least here in South Florida, are competing to catch the small surviving remnant population of fish that were once quite plentiful. With few exceptions, Florida has no fish stocking programs, and none of the native species that I prefer to target have yet to be successfully raised or stocked. Maybe I am getting soft in my old age but that realization has changed my perspective and how I now fish.
Back to my original thought: There is a lot I don’t know about fishing, especially when it comes to species of which I have very limited experience, like trout, carp, and snakeheads. To show how naïve I am, I have been catching my snakeheads on a 4wt rod and 4X tippet. Even though I feel I am pretty accomplished in targeting the fish I have chased since childhood, I would never be so presumptuous as to suggest to experts on those three species how to fish for them. Besides, if teaching has taught me anything, it is that I can usually learn something from everybody, even or maybe especially, an expert.
So, I guess my Dad’s attempt to teach me humility and manners made an impact. The oft repeated, “Shut up and listen” lessons might have taken root also. For that and so many other lessons I am eternally grateful.