Species: Pigfish (Orthopristis chrysoptera)
Location: Graffiti Bridge, Pensacola, FL
Date: August 1, 2017
The second-most popular baitfish in the Gulf of Mexico is just one letter away from the first (Pinfish). I’m speaking, of course, of the Pinfish.
I caught my one and only Pigfish fishing from a public pier in Pensacola minutes after night fell. There were mullet everywhere, as well as small species I still have yet to catch such as a few species of baitfish, Ballyhoo, and Atlantic Needlefish.
That was frustrating, but after being approached late at night by some guy in a sweatshirt who was very obviously holding a knife, it was the least of my worries.
I watched in horror as a he extended his arm, brandishing four inches of gleaming steel reflecting light from the pier lights.
I had some pliers in my bag. Oh! And some scissors. I could fight with that. Maybe I could throw some semi-rancid shrimp in his face, and then lunge with the knife?
He must have detected my bristling because he turned the blade back towards himself and asked “Hey man, is this yours?”
It wasn’t, and I told him so, visibly relieved as he walked away.
I continued fishing.
A few minutes later, another sketchy-but-not-that-sketchy-for-Florida guy came up to me. He was twitchy and awkward, obviously a tweaker.
He told me his car had broken down and asked if I had jumper cables he could borrow. I told him to wait a few minutes, and when he was a good 200 yards away, I went to the car and grabbed them, careful not to turn my back to a Floridian sketchmonger in the dark.
I gave him the cables, fully expecting them to be stolen.
Fifteen minutes later, he called out “Thanks man!” and left them on my hood.
I felt a little bad for thinking the worst of him, but then again, Florida has a reputation, and I’d be stupid not to take precautions.
So yeah. That’s how I caught my one and only Pigfish.
Read the next entry in #SpeciesQuest here: Species #100 — Gaftopsail Catfish.