You may be wondering about the title. “Bucketmouth” refers to a Largemouth Bass, a big Largemouth Bass. A “Bucket List” is of course something we keep, checking off an item or two if we are lucky, or we endure. But there is more to this title. There were many options to consider as I drove through the scrub forest, swamp and farmland, watching the horses on ranches run and the slow rivers roll. And it came to me then because I started thinking about the great Western films in history. I was thinking specifically of a little known Spaghetti Western by an Italian director named Damiano Damiani, a film called A Bullet for the General (1968). Set during a revolution, it is a film loaded with counter-revolutionary plots and surprises of all kinds. Damiani’s film is one of the best Westerns of its time, and it ranks high on my list of favorites. It’s a complicated film about complex people in crazy times, and as I came to the trail head of a complicated trip, it seemed to point in the direction I wanted to go as I tried to answer the question “How do I explain what happened on that lake?”
Here is a rare Fossil Friday post: on Sept. 21, 2008, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review printed an article about a Bowfin that was caught in the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh, PA. The newspaper still ran a print edition then. Hence, the digital copy below is the fossil, a crude impression left by the extinct print copy. The print edition also ran the attached photograph; I include it here for historical reasons. That photo is everywhere now, and I want people to know where it first appeared in print.
The article’s history: it began when Bob Frye, the outdoors writer for the “Trib,” contacted Chuck “BAGman” Meyer at the old Bowfin Anglers group site. Chuck sent Bob my way, and Bob and I had a nice long chat. We spent a good part of the time talking about Myron Cope and the Steelers.
Bob somehow managed to turn my ramble into a great article – Bob is a professional journalist, after all. Looking back on it now, I was happy to draw some attention to my favorite fish and invite some folks into Bowfin Country.
A side note: the tackle shop mentioned in the article apparently had so many requests for the mount that they took it down, or so I was told by a friend who went there.
Here is the article, for your paleontological reading pleasure:
There’s a plague in Bowfin Country, and I’m in quarantine. I have the fishing bug real bad this season. As a result, I’ve been fishing after work; yesterday I captured something exceptional on my little video camera. For years, I’ve been watching Ospreys descend from the sky and pull fish from nearby water. They’ll fall in a controlled flight, almost vertically at times, and gently pluck their prey from the surface. Yesterday, an Osprey made a stunning cameo while I was filming some fishing footage. You can see it at the 1:40 mark of this video: