Last weekend we took the same Butano Canyon hike twice. The first time we brought along our redwood boat thinking we might sail it on the waterfall pond. However, Seth promptly forgot about the boat (don’t tell Daniel Beard) when we stopped at the second bridge and looked down. The deep spot under the bridge was full of fish! Not just minnows but huge fish! Some were gray and one was a salmon orange. There were crawdads and some fingerlings just to round out the population. It was fascinating to watch them interact. There was so much infighting, and what seemed like crawdad harassment just for fun. Some fish swam slowly together, while other fish raced zig zaggedly from side to side. This fish observation set the tone for the hike. Seth spent the rest of the hike sidling up to the stream when ever possible and scouting for fish. Being novices to the whole fish/fishing thing, Seth and I are never sure of what we should be doing on these fishing expeditions. Now we know. We look for fish. We learned to look more carefully in the shadows and to identify habitats that might be fish friendly.
The next day we took the same hike with the fishing pole and camera. This time Seth surprised me. Every time we stopped to look at the fish he said, “I am studying the fish”. He carefully revisited each little sandy beach and shady pool we had discovered the day before. I was impressed by his focus. When we got to the waterfall to practice our casting he spent a long time on the rock above the big pool scouting. I guess this is what real fisherman do – they look. I thought Seth was showing good fishing intuition. But low and behold when we actually caught the fish, he carefully wet his hands, examined the fish and asked me to release it. The reason he gave me was this, “I am a fish scientist, and I just want to look at the fish”.