Otoliths are carbonate structures found in the inner ear of fish. They detect the minutest of compression waves while aiding a fish’s ability to hear. What’s more interesting, perhaps, is that scientists can decipher the chemistry found within otoliths to reveal environmental conditions dating back to the day of a fish’s birth. Much like the rings of a tree, otolith rings are laid down seasonally, but in some instances rings are laid down daily. This allows for the accurate calculation of a fish’s (or larvae’s) age within days. These tiny structures act as capsules that hold incredible stories.
I learned to fish at an early age primarily because my grandfather took me. Neither of us knew why I loved fishing so much, nor could we have known at the time the path it would ultimately take me down. Maybe those things were never meant to be known. Aside from the ardent passion, it has manifested into a curiosity that has led to an advanced education and career within the fisheries field. This is the only plan God had for me as I can’t imagine doing anything else. I suppose He just used my grandfather as the catalyst to initiate this facet of my life. I am forever indebted to my grandfather for the fishing lessons he gave me over the years and forever grateful for the mentorship he showed. Now, as I look back, I understand the times and memories fishing with him are irreplaceable, and the lessons I learned on the water are just as applicable in life as they are in fishing.
As any fisherman – or outdoorsman for that matter – can attest stories of humor, humility and accomplishment invariably accompany a life of fishing, and our favorite ones are told so often that even the faintest of details are embellished. They never get old. It appears only then, after being rehearsed and delivered thousands of times, that they become part of who we are and how we will be remembered. This blog is a culmination of such events. Some stories are humorous while some are serious. Some pertain to fly fishing while some do not. Still, others are nothing more than a fishing trip I have remembered for one reason or another, or just a string of random thoughts related to fish. These are my thoughts. These are my stories. This is my otolith.
(Photo credit: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/gallery/images/photos/5589334674.html)