Mood: don't ask
Topic: "Bush in the Bullrushes"
The northern snakehead, native to China and Korea, first appeared in the US of A in 2002 in a farm pond near Crofton, Maryland. Concerned about the fertility, as well as the mobility of these predators, wildlife officials poisoned the entire pond. They found six adults and more than 1,000 dead juveniles when the pond was drained. Last year, more snakeheads, with no genetic connection to those found in the Crofton pond, were found in the nearby Potomac River. More than 70 snakeheads had been caught in the River so far this year.
Bass Pro Shops has offered $50 gift certificates for every snakehead caught and brought into their store in Hanover, Maryland.
This past Sunday Mark Hammond, Mike Bowers, and Tom Dustin brought more than 80 snakeheads into the store. Allan Ellis, promotions manager at Bass Pro Shops, declined to give out more than $4,000 in gift cards because the fish were caught in nets. "They're in there by the thousands. The ones we caught didn't even put a dent in them. We would throw one in the cooler, two others would jump out and we'd have to chase them through the woods," said Mr. Hammond.
"Chase them through the woods?", queried Frodo.
Julia Dixon of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries responded that the snakehead does stay upright on the ground, and wiggles its' way from one body of water to another. "They are a top line predator, so they're going to be competing for the same space and food as bass, and we'll just have to see what shakes out," she added.
Frodo never thought that the Smallmouth Bass of the Upper Potomac River might someday come under the aegis of the Endangered Species Act. That is, assuming the Endangered Species Act doesn't become endangered itself under the smooth leadership of the Bush Presidency and its' rubber-stamp Congress.
One day, many years ago, Frodo and his canine companion Prissy waded into the Potomac at a place called Stubblefield. Prissy, being short of stature, was conveniently parked on a sandbar while Frodo stood atop the rapids fishing for Smallmouth. After many minutes Prissy could stand solace no longer and waded into the rapids to swim to her Hobbit. Frodo eventually noticed his friend in deep trouble, swimming furiously against the current, and being pulled steadily downstream.
Frodo abandoned his fishing rod, his lures, all the prizes saved over several lifetimes, and swam at speeds previously undiscovered. Frodo kept his gaze on the pleading eyes of his friend. Faster, and faster, and faster still, until he caught her collar and pulled her to him. They drifted in the current, together, until Frodo could grasp an outcropping of rocks and make way to shore.
Prissy shook herself several times as they walked along the shore. She followed as Frodo made his way to a parallel point to where he had abandoned his fishing gear. Frodo looked at Prissy, and told her to "Stay." He was sure that this would be one command obeyed, no matter what. Frodo walked into the water and found his fishing rod, and all his gear, pinned up against a rock, intact.
When they reached their motorcar Prissy abandoned her normal spot in the passenger seat in order to lay her head on the leg of her Hobbit. Grateful prayers were prayed, and two friends went home.
Frodo knows that Prissy's heart would break if she knew that there may someday be no reason for Hobbit and Hound to wade at Stubblefield.