Bill Meyer makes a strong case for tweaking how Illinois fisheries managers look at and define trash fish.
''There is, however, a clear, scientifically based division between fish species. In one group should be the 'native' species, including but not limited to bass, walleye, crappie, gar, bowfin and suckers. The other group should be the 'non-native' or 'invasive' species, including gobies, ruffe and common, bighead and silver carp. The native species should be regulated as 'sport fish' are now, and the non-native species should be allowed to be taken by bowfishing, snagging or commercial methods.''
Meyer is a junior high science teacher, the gar-fishing aficionado who founded Gar Anglers' Sporting Society (GASS) and the holder of Illinois' record for shortnose gar.
I had not communicated with Meyer in a long time, then last week we exchanged several emails because, first, the signing of Senate Bill 2129, which added drum and shad to the species open to bowfishing, gigging, etc., then about Charles ``Mac'' Sloan catching a big gar.
I connect the dots between Sloan's gar and Meyer's distinction between native and non-native in today's column in the Sun-Times.
I like the distinction Meyer makes. It would keep plenty of invasive species, which are numerous, open to bowfishing and similar means of pursuit, but yet respects our native species.
When it comes to youth, bowfishing is an intriguing sport that draws the kids in. I have observed numerous bowfishing demonstrations and that's how kids are supposed to look when doing outdoor stuff, excited and happy.