A friend was coming back from an outing Sunday in Will County when he stopped at Wilmington Dam on the Kankakee. And when he saw the disrespect shown gar, he blew up:
I was driving through the park next to the river when I saw a fellow holding two gar. I immediately stopped to look. He did not know what they were so I told him. He said guys were catching large numbers right at the dam.
When I arrived there, it was explained to me that when the river runs hard, bait fish get trapped in the eddies by the structure and the gar come to feast. One angler had just thrown a gar on the ground and there was at least one other lying in the dirt. I asked him if he was going to eat any of them and he said he had just learned of a recipe for the fish but needed to catch a large one.
So, Dale, is there anything that can be done to make anglers think ecologically? The only fish they care about are those few they target- anything else is trash that should be killed. I mean gar and bowfins are ancient fish endemic to the eastern US and endowed with an array of remarkable adaptations.
They deserve some respect, damn it!
And I think that is the first time ``endemic'' made it into Stray Casts.
I will point my friend to Gar Anglers' Sporting Society (GASS), which thrives on the kind of twisted humor my friend enjoys. As he would enjoy the respect shown to gar there.