Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

Ramble with Storm: Redears, idiots & my red ass

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storm3x Mulling things on my morning ramble
with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.

One of my favorite faithful readers dropped me a note very early this morning noting it was a redear in the photo leading WWW Chicago outdoors: Bluegills yesterday.

In my business that is a catch. A catch is usually made by editors or the copy desk of a mistake or an inaccuracy.

The problem with Stray Casts, there is no copy desk or editor between me and publication online.

So I only catch mistakes or inaccuracies by myself or when a reader does.

I am enough of a red ass about being accurate every time that I beat myself up when I make a misstep like that.

Technically in this case, it was an inaccuracy. I never ID'd the fish as a bluegill, but the implication was certainly there.

A red ass, BTW, according to the best definition in, the third one, is

as a noun, red ass refers to a person that has a bad temper, as an adjective, red ass describes an angry person (man, that guy has the red ass) and has levels depending on how angry the person is (red ass, red hot ass, red hot chili pepper ass).

I kind of like hot red chili ass.

I probably get red ass with myself more than anybody else.

In this case, I should have caught that it was a redear and noted it right away.

So that chewed at me this morning and put a damper on what should have been a perfect ramble on a holiday weekend morning, cool enough for a hoodie, with the meathead.

Mulling or beating myself up about species reminded me of idiots.

By idiots, I don't mean Carl Vizzone and Ken ``The Lakefront Lip'' Schneider, though those two dubbed some of the hybrid fish in the Chicago River system as ``idiot fish.''

And it's a perfect description. There's two separate sets of ``idiot fish'' in the Chicago River.

One is a varied group of sunfish hybrids, my guess is there may be as many as three or four different hybrids from the sunfish family in the Chicago River system.

Then there is the group of hybrids related to white bass or white perch or hybrid striped bass, or all three.

And knowledgeable people can go round and round ID'ing them.

A couple years ago, news side at the Sun-Times wanted me to catch some fish from the Chicago River, bring them back to the office and clean them. (Cleaning them in the sink in the photo office was quite entertaining.)

Mayor Daley had lipped off about fish in the Chicago River. So news side thought it would be fun to test the fish to see how safe they were to eat.

But ID'ing one of the panfish caused a strong discussion between Brian Jackson, an ST photographer who is a good enough fishermen to target smallmouth well on the South Side, and myself.

We finally ended up going with calling it a hybrid, if I remember right.

Getting it right matters.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on May 29, 2010 8:07 AM.

WWW Chicago outdoors: Bluegills was the previous entry in this blog.

WWW Chicago outdoors: Bikes, cats & carp is the next entry in this blog.

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