Catfish Are Happening

(Illustration: Charles Weiss)

June is when the water is ultra inviting for fishing and almost swimming at one of my favourite lake in the countryside of Barss Corner. I was wading and fishing along a point over- shadowed with a giant white pine tree and heard my fish- ing wife Diane exclaim, “Look at this catfish!” In response I called out, “Is it dead?” I had visions of a fishing laying in the sun out of the water. She replied, “No, it’s swimming in one spot.”

I retrieved my lure and rushed over to the beach on the other side of the point near the swimming dock.

Near the water’s edge, I saw not one but two catfish in the shallow water facing each other. In between these 12-inch fish there was a small swirling group of young catfish, each one about half an inch long. The two fish were brown bullhead and appeared to be in a parental “baby sitting” monitoring activity.

I wanted to find out how focused the parent catfish were and waved my fishing rod in the air above them.

I didn’t distract them and pulled my rod back to the shore. Instantly the bullhead catfish nearest to me turned in a circle and sprinted in a splash out of the water toward me. It was a lesson in how suddenly things can change for the worse. Perhaps from natural to unnatural. Then I reached down to the sand and gently picked up the fish by the bottom lip and replaced it in its watery home.

Charles Weiss is an artist and writer living for the past few years in Pleasantville. He is originally from Southern Ontario where he illustated and wrote editorial stories for newspapers and magazines including the Toronto Star and Real Fishing magazine. He regularly exhibits his paintings and sculptures in Lunenburg Art Gallery.


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