|Species #1000: Beyond the Fish
I strained my eyes to see a tiny red dot as it spun and slowly grew in size in an abyss of aquamarine water. The mighty Pacific Ocean, prone to fits of watercraft smashing violence was strangely calm, almost as though it was holding it’s breath along with me.
I wondered what lay at the end of my line? What species would be entered into my database in the blank expanse of white that lay next to the number: 1000.
The red dot continued to grow, and soon it became clearer and clearer in the tropical sunshine off of the coast of Hawaii. It morphed as it slowly ascended from 700 feet deep, appearing to be flattened but pointy, angular yet bulbous.
For a moment, the world seemed silent. The lapping of the waves ceased, the wind slowed to a whisper, the boat gently bobbed on the ocean, and the sun cast a weak beam of light through the hazy morning cloud cover. In this moment of peace, my mind wandered to what brought me to this exact moment, the culmination of a lifetime of experiences and this pinnacle of achievement.
Although I had started fishing at a very young age and had always been enamored with our underwater friends, it was not until 2009 that I learned about lifelist fishing. That is, the pursuit of as many different species of fish as possible, to be counted and tabulated into a life-long list of species caught. It seemed like a perfect fit, combining multiple hobbies of mine, from photography to traveling and of course, fishing! My first species hunting trip to Hawaii that year ended up being a large bust, due to me falling ill for almost the entirety of the trip. However, the species hunting bug had been planted, and there was no turning back. I had contracted a chronic case of lifelist fishing.
In the subsequent 8 years, the journey of lifelist fishing has taken me on the trip of a lifetime. While I will admit that obsessive lifelist fishing requires one to have both financial freedom and a fair amount of leisure time, I also found that those who are truly passionate about pursuing their dreams always find a way. And the payoff for the sacrifices that were made in my pursuit were even higher than I could have ever imagined.
To be continued at my blog...
All photos property of COE
Photo references (compilations listed clockwise from top left)
1. Assorted species photo
2. a. Atlantic Ocean, New York, USA
b. Tasik Temenggor, Malaysia
c. Lord Howe Island, Australia
d. Red Hills, Arizona, USA
3. a. Lord Howe Island, Australia
b. Lord Howe Island, Australia
c. Rio Grande River, Colorado, USA
d. Verde River, Arizona, USA
4. a. Unnamed Lake, New Jersey, USA
b. Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri, USA
c. Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain
d. Mazatlan, Mexico
5. a. Puerto Lobos, Baja California, Mexico
b. San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico
c. Taipei, Taiwan
d. Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico
CPR: Catch, Picture, Release. Ensuring our sport lives on forever.
Visit my blog to see what new species of fish I've encountered in my travels across the world: