Two summers ago, I tried out fly fishing for the first time. Up until then, I had viewed fly fishing as some sort of lazy, privileged sport that old men do in retirement. I blame Freedom 55 commercials for that.
But, after a day-long introduction, guided by my friend Rob Cesta of Drift Outfitters, I saw the sport in a completely different light. Fly fishing wasn’t the same as simple bait and hook fishing: it was an art. And to acquire such an art and be successful at it, one had to possess a deep understanding of the complex ecosystems they were stepping their feet into.
I learned that those Dr. Seuss-looking lures are actually handcrafted to mimic very season-specific prey, and like a puppet on a string, the fly fisher must maneuver it convincingly. It’s a dance that celebrates one’s awareness with their environment.
Okay, so I got a little philosophical there, but it leads me to my next topic: The Asian Carp Invason.
“What is the Asian Carp invasion?” you might ask. Well, that was my same question when Art Director Steven Balaban of Evermaven contacted me concerning a public awareness video they were making on the topic. (The clients were the ROM and the Department of Fisheries & Oceans Canada.)
After a simple YouTube search, I was horrified. There I saw the amount of damage this particular species of fish can have on entire lakes and waterways: nothing but carp and more carp, jumping every which way as boats motor through them.
It’s been a growing problem along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, and sadly, those rivers eventually lead up to the Great Lakes. The only way we can help stop the invasion is to recognize the four species of invasive carp and report if we see them.
Here’s a process shot of the five species of carp I made for the video. Starting at the top and going down are the following: Bighead Carp, Common Carp (not a threat), Grass Carp, Black Carp and Silver Carp.
Below are some of the scenes I illustrated for the video. Thanks to animator Alan Osborne, these scenes were brought to life!
Here’s the video link: http://evermaven.com/portfolio/asian-carp/
So, perhaps we should be a little more like my friend Rob, the fly fishing guide. Opening our eyes and being aware of the native species that share our environment just might help save them.