Publication:

Animal Scene - 2021-09-01

Data:

CALM ENCOUNTER

ANIMAL APPEAL

After releasing the Tongue Sole, I noticed a strange shape in the water. There was a mound on the sand surface that looks strangely perfect in its tear-shape form. My heart began to race as I realized that the silhouette had eyes and a mouth faintly bulging out of the water and my mind was finally able to picture the Flounder under that thin sheet of sand. Sure, Tongue Soles sometimes also left a fuzzy mark of their shape on the sand surface. But because they were smaller and so much flatter, the mark they would leave on the sand was very faint that I would not use it as a reliable means of locating them. Meanwhile, the shape of the Flounder was very obvious. This one was definitely more than 8 inches long and I had never barehandedly caught something this big before. I had hand-caught big fish on previous occasions, but with the aid of a net or even a tin can. I tried to calm myself down as I signaled the kids to assist me. I had to remind them to keep a safe distance so as not to startle my quarry. Their movement also stirred up sand that clouded the water. I had to explain to them quickly that I needed the water as clear as possible. After all, Flatfishes were masters of camouflage. With someone holding my flashlight-mode cellphone, I finally had both hands free. It was probably over confident with its camouflage that I got close enough and was able to pin it down. Similar to the Tongue Sole, it did not struggle at first. It is probably trying to assess my movement and waiting for the right opportunity to make that strong burst of strength to get free. Learning from my earlier mistakes with the Tongue Soles, I made sure that there was no mistake this time. With my left hand pressing it down on the sand, I used my right hand like a muzzle, snuggly fitting into its head. And then, I slowly shifted my left hand from flat to cup shape to secure its rear. So, in just a minute or two, the Flounder was “bottled up” by my hands and unable to escape.

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