Mark Spitzer loves fish and he loves to fish. As a nationally known author (Seasons of the Gar, Return of the Gar), writing about fish and their issues is what he does best. In this blog series, Spitzer shares his experiences traveling the American West while researching a select number of freshwater fish that are often considered monstrous or freaky or hideously grotesque. Don’t miss the full version of this incredible tale, which can be found in Beautifully Grotesque Fish of the American West (heading downstream in March 2017).
Nebraska was full of pros and cons. On one hand, I totally lost the Existential Midlife Crisis Mobile (an $8,000 debacle), but on the other hand, I gained an actual state record—which had always been a goal of mine. The fish I ended up with, though, was a far cry from what I set out to get: the notorious and despised, boneheaded bowfin!
Admittedly, it was ridiculous of me to propose that I would catch a state record for this chapter, but because fantastic things can sometimes happen if you dare to take a risk, I hooked into a fish I never expected.
It wasn’t the wels catfish shown below, and it certainly wasn’t as impressive as most state records tend to be, but I show this picture in response to a hoax that went viral. Seems some prankster posted a photo on social media, claiming it was a 346-pound yellow bullhead caught on the Missouri River. So when citizens began freaking out, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission leapt into damage control by using the news of my official state record to calm the masses.
But that’s not all my puny grotesque of the West revealed. For one, it drew my attention to a pervasive culture of dis-fish-information misleading the public every day—which I uncovered and debunked. But perhaps more importantly, there’s a way to get a state record that’s so easy and basic that it will make even the most seasoned anglers bang their heads against the wall, wishing they’d done what I had done—because if they did, they would’ve been in the record books long before I came along.
Want to know more? Then preorder the book as soon as you can.