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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.