Posts Tagged ‘catfish’

Falls black styrofigure, July 2013

With the sun spotlighting this little patch of sand…my newest Styro-figure proudly stood upright.  He’s the first persona created in the reconfigured studio.  I found a rare piece of “black Styrofoam” on today’s walk.  It’s part of what passes for car bumpers these days.  This material has a rubberized compound mixed throughout the foam which makes it harder to cut or pierce.

Leaving home, July 2013

After making new friends it’s time to venture out into the world.  The leafy green complete with bird song is complimented by the creaky willows that sway with the occasional breeze.  There is another sound, however, that your feet are hearing and you walk in the direction of its source.

Black Styro-figure by the river, July 2013

The mighty Ohio River has been running muddy for more that a week now.  Although it’s hot and humid today, thus far, this summer has been wetter and cooler than average.  As a result of all the rain, the river has been higher than usual.  What I like about the Falls of the Ohio is that in such a relatively intimate space the park can take on all kinds of different looks depending on the weather and season.  Small waves break upon the heightened shoreline and there is a family nearby fishing and playing by the river.

Family fishing for catfish, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

Seeing that they were having some luck catching fish, I gestured if it was all right to take their pictures.  The family didn’t speak English and I’m guessing that they are recent immigrants from Southeast Asia?  Regardless, both adults and children were having a ball in the river.  I wondered if they came from someplace like this since they seemed so comfortable and natural by the water? After receiving the okay signal I recorded these images of people interacting with the river.

little boy, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

This little guy was cute and really determined that I should take his picture in what I’m assuming is a martial arts pose?  I obliged him several times and this was my personal favorite snapshot of the group.  Looking through my riverblog…I’m struck by how often children appear and interact with my artistic process.  First, my own two sons would accompany me and now it’s the kids in the park on any given day.

Man with Flathead Catfish, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

Flathead catfish, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

I watched this fish being landed and it’s a decent sized Flathead catfish, (Pylodictus olivaris).  This fish probably weighed in the ten to twelve pound range, but this catfish can get as large as a hundred pounds.  It is a fish of big rivers.  A very simple rig was used to catch this fish.  Four slipshot lead weights were clamped onto the line about eight inches away from the hook.  A single nightcrawler worm was used for bait which was cast about 25 yards from the riverbank.  The fishermen would wade in about knee-high to waist deep to increase casting length.  I was amazed that with the current and all the potential underwater obstructions that their lines didn’t get snagged more often than they did.

Catfish stringer, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

This was the stringer of catfish they were working on.  In addition to the Flatheads…another big river fish the Blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) was also being caught.

catfish stringer, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

The Blue catfish is a slatey-gray color and has a forked tail.  The two fish on the lower right in the above image are blues.  The flatheads are more of a mottled olive color and have very different fins.  Both are omnivorous and will eat most anything that they can catch.

Man and catfish, Falls of the Ohio, July 2013

All the fish on the stringer will be used to feed this family.  It is still not recommended that people eat the larger fish (especially bottom dwelling species) from the Ohio River. The river is much cleaner than it used to be, however, toxins do build up in the fat tissues of the fish that live the longest and grow to be big.  Every once in a while, making a meal of some of the smaller fish should be okay.  Because I was needed elsewhere today…I let my day at the river draw to an end.  Good thing too…because if you stand too long in the same spot at the water’s edge…you chance sinking down too far!  See you soon.

Styro-figure in black, waist deep in wet sand, July 2013

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Fishing on the fossil rocks, 7/09

All along the Indiana bank at the Falls of the Ohio, fisherman were having success.  The water level had dropped and is approaching its summer pool.  Soon it will be possible to cross over and explore the world on the Kentucky side.  I can hear the high pitch sounds of the Eastern Kingbird and marvel at how fearless they are as they dive-bomb the vultures trying to catch thermals on their way up.  There’s plenty of food for scavengers, because the fishermen are wasteful.  When they leave there’s a feast waiting for them.

Stringer of fish, 7/09

This was the most impressive stringer of fish I saw today…but I wouldn’t want to eat any of them.  It’s advised that you avoid making a meal of the larger, older bottom dwelling fish in the river.  Although things are supposed to be getting better…there’s still toxins and metals that are present in their tissues.  The species on this stringer include:  a flathead catfish, freshwater drum, carp, and what I think are highfin carpsuckers on the left.  Methods being used include both natural baits (cut-up shad and chicken liver) as well as casting with artificial lures (florescent jigs).  I walked the bank picking up the odd item I could use and went and found my studio. 

native man, 7/09

native man, detail, 7/09

This is the figure that walked out of today’s  junk found on the riverbank.  The starting point was a broken hairbrush I pinned onto the head.  A butternut split in half forms the mouth and a plastic cap from an ink pen is the nose.  I created a cloak from a piece of flexible foam packing material I found nearby.  I associate this figure with the indigenous people that once  fished here for thousands of years…and could safely eat the fish!  Finding the sticks to give the arms and legs gesture took up most of the time in making this piece.  Even when you are standing on mountains of driftwood finding the right expressive stick can drive you crazy.  I also photographed plastic containers and other junk stranded by the retreating waters.  As someone reminded me recently, the native people lived here forever in a virtual paradise and in a little more than two hundred years we have trashed the place up pretty good.  Here’s an image that’s proof of that.  The drum is obvious, but the black sand you see is actually coal dust.

blue plastic drum, 7/09

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