I'm noticing the hunting forum is getting worn out, and we're just wearing each other out over here in the pole flingin' forum. How 'bout we talk about something that can't get us into too much trouble?

I was thinking about what my favorite species is. I'm leaving saltwater out just because that opens it up to a whole net of fins.

Maybe it's crappie or walleye for the skillet. But I don't eat much fish or cast for the toothy critters often enough...

Maybe it's striper because they will flat rip your shoulder out of it's socket, especially on the fly....

Maybe it's catfish, but I'm a little askeered of 'em even though they batter up nice. Maybe Simms can unskeer me some day.

Maybe it's brook trout cause they're prettier 'n a speckled bird dawg...

Maybe it's largemouth because they've really got my number. After 42 years, my biggest is still only 3 1/2 pounds. But sometimes 2 1/2 lbs. is about all I can handle...

Or maybe the rainbows and browns should win because I fish for them the most. I've studied them for years and know more about them than any other fish. And yet I'm as confused as ever...

Of course, the noble carp would be the easy pick for this redneck. Sadly, that's how most people know me, as the fly flingin' carp guy. But they're just too ugly and slimy to put a twinkle in this eye. So ugly they have to spawn in muddy water...

The bluegill and its cousins, could there be a prettier family? Pound for pound, I'd put them up against a tiger shark or a pit bull. A Georgia giant on an Ugly Stick once sent me packin' for Tennessee! And tasty, too! Has another fish produced as many grins in this world?

Ah, but I think the hometown favorite, a magical warrior - style, grace, beauty, and brute power would have to be the beloved smallie. I dream of tail-dancing at daylight and dusk. A 5-pounder in heavy current, which I've been lucky enough to pull off a few times, will keep you awake at night just tasting that memory.

Yeah, I'm pretty fired up for the upcoming hunting season, but I'm not giving up the aquatic critters just yet. I think we're dern lucky to have an abundance of all these and more to choose from. What's your favorite and why?

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It is not the killing ...; it is the contest of skill and cunning. The true hunter counts his achievement in proportion to the effort involved and the fairness of the sport.

Dr. Saxton Pope