The Shoaling is an assembly of 40 fish sculptures. Click the images to zoom in and learn more about each fish.
Please note that while the images on your screen are small, these sculptures are quite large. See dimensions accompanying each photo.
The King Bee: the LARGE MOUTH BASS. They strike at nearly anything they consider alive and fight aggressively, breaching the water to get free. The females are larger than the males, and the bigger the species the older they are. Worldwide admiration for the large mouth bass has made them the stars of countless fishing/release contests. Adult large mouth bass are solitary creatures and the males are left to guard the nests till they hatch and the father will stay to protect the young for about a month. When their duty’s done and warmer waters come they move closer to the surface (lookin’ for you). (42” W x 19″ H – 11 lbs.)
Hudson: the STRIPER. Once on a Hudson River pier I saw a youngster catch this fish on a minus low tide afternoon. He was very overwhelmed by the event and not prepared to handle his good luck. A concerned fisherman fishing near the boy put down his pole and leaned way over the pier and netted the fish. The man wrapped the fish up in newspaper and put it in a bag for the excited boy who headed home with dinner. This is how I remember Hudson, the surprised boy and that nice fisherman. (47” W x 17″ H – 10 lbs.)
Roberta, the Riverkeeper’s River Sweeper: STURGEON. The Atlantic Sturgeon was harvested to near extinction in the past century in what was referred to as “The Black Gold Rush” for her eggs (roe), known as Caviar. In 1998 the Atlantic States enacted a 40-year ban on the sturgeon, classifying them as an Endangered Species. These gentle giants date back to the Jurassic Dinosaurs Period and their boney exterior plates reflect that. They are bottom feeders, using their barbels under their noses to find food that is sucked up by their vacuum mouth behind the barbels. They can live more than 60 years and weigh more than 800 pounds. Thirty plus years into the Protected Species Program three generations have rebounded, yet they are still vulnerable to all types of modern day vessels. (24″ W x 84″ H – 21 lbs.)
The Children of the Majesties: Crown Prince Naruhito. BONITO FISH AKA SKIPJACK TUNA. This species, pole-caught in early spring through summer each year in Japan, has been prized and treasured for centuries and called Kasuo. Its red meaty flesh is used for sushi and sashimi and when dried and fermented it becomes one of the main ingredients in dashi stock, the foundation of Japanese cooking. Found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans they’re most abundant near the equator and are the mainstay of canned tuna. Because they easily spawn they are the most sustainable of the tuna species. Wal-Mart sells cans of tuna with labels like http://www.BumbleBee.com/TraceMyCatch
. When you can’t find verified cans of tuna, mention that to your food supplier and make good old PB&J. A painless choice, but a good one that gets heard. (72” W x 32″ H – 19 lbs.)
Miles, the long distance survivor: the CHINOOK SALMON. This great fish is also known as King Salmon. After spending nearly two years in fresh water, they incredibly journey to the sea for a year or more and return to their natal streams to spawn. But what fascinates me is that they can survive up to five or six years in the oceans and return weighing up to 30 pounds or more. (44″ W x 17″ H – 10 lbs.)
Ernie the Exotic: the ROOSTER FISH. This fish has become a very popular, sought-after game fish because of its cunning persona and fighting spirit. Mexico and Central America abound with this species. Catch, release is the order of the day since this fish is not a desirable eating fish. To me the fish is quite beautiful and exotic with the rooster comb dorsal fin, and that’s where Ernie beat me a few times. It took me more than a few attempts at cutting and grinding Ernie’s seven-point dorsal fin out of one piece of steel. (48” W x 27″ H – 12 lbs.)
Danger Rangers: the BLUEFISH. My friend and his 12-year-old son were surf-fishing one day off a New England jetty and the boy reeled in a small bluefish. His father unhooked it and as he did, the fish jumped on the boy’s shirt. The fish bit and wouldn’t let go of the shirt’s top button, making a pretty interesting tie for a moment. Bluefish, like many other species, are stealthily designed opportunistic predators. These eating machines create a lot of excitement for fishermen because they are such aggressive fighters, making them the second most sought-after species behind the striped bass. (48” W x 16” H – 7 lbs.)
The Majesties: KOI FISH. Emperor Akihito and his wife Empress Michiko have chosen to abdicate the Chrysanthemum Throne of Japan as they reach their mid-eighties. Jointly and individually they have brilliantly shouldered the role of ‘the symbol of state and of the unity of the people.’ Their duties as the heads of state have taken them to every prefecture in Japan on special state visits and in times of emergencies. The Majesties’ sensitive cultural sophistication and their undying work ethic as heads of state has always been the pride of Japan’s people. Their spirit and selfless love of their people is what attracted me to make these Koi Fish. (72″ W x 36″ H-WT: 30 lbs.)
Tricky Magicians: the RAINBOW TROUT. Elusive, desired and much sought-after, the rainbow trout has made fools of many. In the water rising or passing by in the shallow water into the sun’s rays, we are treated to splashes of colors we’ll not soon forget. Great writers like Nick Lyons and Norman Maclean put us in waders and waters pursuing these fish in comic/tragic adventures. Dedicated fish artists like Flick Ford and Joseph Tomerelli show us why our love affairs with these different elusive iconic fish endure. (46″ W x 19” H – 16 lbs.)
Azul: BLUE MARLIN. Found in the Atlantic and Pacific temperate waters, these great fish are at once majestic and capable of tremendous speed. Their large size leaves them with few predators. They can reach 15 feet and up to a ton in weight but normally are 10 feet long and 200 to 400 pounds. The females are three or four times larger than males and live a third longer. They’re migratory and suffer from over-fishing and bycatch with tuna fishing boats. (49” W x 33″ H – 18 lbs. )
Simone: the female DORADO. The Dorado or Mahi Mahi are brilliantly bright yellow-gold, hence the Spanish word Dorado. The greens, blues, light and dark along with the magical gold all fade the moment they are no longer free and happy in their waters. They turn dark in minutes. I love their structure and thought the brother and sister facing each other left and right give us a glimpse of their personalities. (50” W x 24″ H – 16 lbs.)
Sam the Meat Man: the STEELHEAD. Also known as Steelhead Trout, the difference is that the mature fish that migrate to the ocean are steelheads and those that stay behind in fresh water are called rainbow trout. Also the steelhead can return to its natal stream and spawn more than once. The steelhead is longer and more streamlined than the rainbow trout and I respect enormously today’s steelheaders and their fighting efforts to protect these fish and their waters. (44” W x 16″ H – 8 lbs.)
Smiley: the male SOCKEYE SALMON and all the females migrate to the sea at around one year old as silvery smolts. To avoid predators they allow the river to take them downstream at night, tail first, towards the ocean. The SOCKEYE typically spend two years at sea and then begin their miraculous journey home to their natal streams to spawn. The males fight each other with their hooked noses for dominance. They eventually they die in waters where they began, having completed their circle of life. This is a beautifully noble fish. (45” W x 19″ H – 15 lbs.)
Mr. Nakamura’s Fish: BLUE FIN TUNA. A third generation long-line tuna fisherman in Japan was devastated when his young son told him he did not want to become a fisherman because of all the struggles that his father and other fisherman in their village had to live with; the sushi boom of the past 20 years resulting in the disappearance of the Blue Fin Tuna. In deciding to do something to change the situation, he and 300 other village fishermen agreed to collectively try a three-year experiment and not fish for Blue Fin Tuna during their spawning season. They all sacrificed a lot believing and hoping that foregoing the spawning season juvenile tuna would mature and stabilize the population, leading to a sustainable fishery, their lifeblood, and not the forecasted collapse. The fisheries of the world are watching and now so are you and I. (98” W x 36″ H – 50 lbs.)
The Majesties: KOI FISH. Emperor Akihito and his wife Empress Michiko have chosen to abdicate the Chrysanthemum Throne of Japan as they reach their mid-eighties. Jointly and individually they have brilliantly shouldered the role of ‘the symbol of state and of the unity of the people.’ Their duties as the heads of state have taken them to every prefecture in Japan on special state visits and in times of emergencies. The Majesties’ sensitive cultural sophistication and their undying work ethic as heads of state has always been the pride of Japan’s people. Their spirit and selfless love of their people is what attracted me to make these Koi Fish. (72″Wide X 36″Tall–WT: 30 lbs.)
Sailfish: FLYING FISH. I was once joined way offshore windsurfing in Barbados by a school of Flying Fish, and for maybe a minute we were sailing together, then they were gone. I dropped my sail and self into the sea feeling so grateful for being there when they were. They don’t literally fly but propel themselves out of the water and glide to escape predators. Their bright bluish-green color was luminous in the sunlight as they surrounded and went by me. I never gave a thought to what those Hirundichthy Affinis were running from. (48” W x 42″ H – 15 lbs.)
Simon: the male DORADO. He’s very similar to his sister but different. In some ways he’s the bigger, bolder brother with the fierce face. In cutting him out of steel, I made subtle differences in their body details, fins, tails and foreheads. I wanted to bring their power and energy to their faces because it’s uniquely expressive like no others. They do not go quietly from the sea. (49” W x 24″ H – 15 lbs.)
Mighty: the MAKO SHARK. The Maori term “mako” means “shark.” The shortfin mako covers the planet earth in its travels. Tag-release studies show they are somewhat warm blooded and migrate to warm waters. Very little is known about the social habits of the shortfin mako except that it is a solitary shark. To me, this species’ body is all about speed and highly efficient hydrodynamics. This makes the mako the fastest shark, a stealth hunter and dangerous jumper. In the Northeast this predator’s dining preference is the fearless bluefish. The twins look very fast to me, going about their “never you mind” damn business. (68” W x 25″ H – 13 lbs.)
Cal: the YELLOWFIN TUNA. Like so many other species of beautifully colored fish, when you see them come out of the water, they dazzle wearing Mother Nature’s finest. Also known as AHI, this fish is sought worldwide for Asian and U.S. dining. They’re predators and prey but powerfully built and like being in schools. I tried for power, movement and personality since they are sight driven. Beautiful he is. (50” W x 22″ H – 13 lbs.)
The Children of the Majesties: Prince Akishino. BONITO FISH AKA SKIPJACK TUNA. This species, pole-caught in early spring through summer each year in Japan, has been prized and treasured for centuries and called Kasuo. Its red meaty flesh is used for sushi and sashimi and when dried and fermented it becomes one of the main ingredients in dashi stock, the foundation of Japanese cooking. Found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans they’re most abundant near the equator and are the mainstay of canned tuna. Because they easily spawn they are the most sustainable of the tuna species. Wal-Mart sells cans of tuna with labels like http://www.BumbleBee.com/TraceMyCatch
. When you can’t find verified cans of tuna, mention that to your food supplier and make good old PB&J. A painless choice, but a good one that gets heard. (72” W x 32″ H – 19 lbs.)
Riley: the RED DRUM FISH. Redfish are found in Florida waters and up the East Coast but mainly in the Gulf of Mexico. They’re called spot-tail, channel bass, rat reds and bull reds and are feisty fighters. They prefer estuaries but move with the tides, with their downturned jaw they root and dig for crabs “tailing.” Usually one or more black spots are near or on their tails. During spawning season they can produce a drumming sound for which they’re named. Riley was a drummer from around Biloxi. (42″ W x 18” H – 7 lbs.)
Children of the Majesties: KOI FISH. The Princess Nori now known as Sayako Kuroda the wife of Yoshiki Kuroda. They seem to me to possess an unconditional respect for each other that allows them to have life’s happiness at their command. To leave the Imperial Family for love, to be a lover of flight, an ornithologist and serve as a sacred priestess at the Ise Shrine from which it is believed the Imperial Family descended is to be a woman who walks higher ground. She is elegant: 72″Wide X 36″Tall-WT: 32lbs.
Suzycue: the STRIPED BASS. This fish was the most beautiful thing I ever saw in my young life. She was caught and released on a rod and reel I saw being dragged into the shore break during a striper run at sunset on a San Francisco beach in the Sunset District. I had picked up the rod and reel out of the water and the owner let me reel her in with his help. The first glimpse of her in the shore break in the sunset was amazing; she glowed. Her dark green back topping a luminous mauve-tinted silver body with black stripes running from her gills to her tail above her sparkling white belly. Beautiful! The man unhooked her and then worked her gently side to side in the water till she revived and swam back through the waves. Wow! (47″ W x 19” H – 12 lbs.)
Pluddy: the PERMIT FISH. Think turquoise clear shallow flats and picture these beauties “tailing” when dining on tiny crabs. They stand up on their heads while digging out dinner, leaving their tails dancing and reflecting above the surface. Maybe their most vulnerable time. Sometimes they’re referred to as the Houdini of the flats because they can swim in very shallow water by turning on their side and floating. But their greatest asset in escape or hunting is their large eyes with 360 degrees of vision. They do not suffer the fisher fool at all and are clearly the most spooky and difficult fish to catch. (47″ W x 25” H – 20 lbs.)
Tuffenuf: the TIGER SHARK. This is not a user friendly shark and is a danger to humans, with the duly earned reputation as man-eater. Called consummate scavengers, they have amazing eyesight which is why they tend to hunt at night. They are the fourth largest shark in the world and solitary sharks living alone. So they pretty much have things their way. But their flesh is prized as were their fins for shark fin soup, so their numbers are now low. Tuffenuf was challenging because I very much enjoy the camouflage abilities this species has for such a big body. (72” W x 30″ H – 24 lbs.)
Mighty: the MAKO SHARK. The Maori term “mako” means “shark.” The shortfin mako covers the planet earth in its travels. Tag-release studies show they are somewhat warm blooded and migrate to warm waters. Very little is known about the social habits of the shortfin mako except that it is a solitary shark. To me, this species’ body is all about speed and highly efficient hydrodynamics. This makes the mako the fastest shark, a stealth hunter and dangerous jumper. In the Northeast this predator’s dining preference is the fearless bluefish. The twins look very fast to me, going about their “never you mind” damn business. (69” W x 25″ H – 16 lbs.)
Lola: the LEMON SHARK. A very different kind of shark and surprisingly yellow in color. Different in the sense that they are social and non-threatening with poor eyesight. East and West Coast lemon shark numbers are declining from over-fishing. They are sold for their meat and fins for soup. They eat different fishes but also crustaceans and mollusks. During the day they rest on the seabed waiting for the wrasses to clean them of parasites. Laconic not really, I see her as an intensely focused shark and adaptive to the many man-made predations. (88” W x 40″ H – 32 lbs.)
WHALE TAIL: From a photo of two Killer Whales passing the boat my friends were on in Alaska. They said as more whales passed close by them, it felt like they were rumbling underwater trains. Imagine… (44 lbs.)
Aircraftcarrier: GREAT WHITE SHARK. One cannot undo in this lifetime all the bad publicity sharks get thanks to Hollywood. But the shock I had experienced building the Aircraftcarrier was revealing and not planned. I did him from the memory of a picture I saw of him breaching for prey and at a certain point I cut his dorsal fin off to move it back further for better balance. But looking at what I did disturbed me deeply. Until I reattached the dorsal fin, I let visions of live finless sharks drowning to the bottom of the sea visit my imagination and became upset and angry. It’s estimated that a hundred million sharks a year are harvested this way for SHARK FIN SOUP. SHARKFINNING for a ritualized centuries-old status symbol is devastating ecologically and ethically beneath contempt. (75” W x 40″ H – 30 lbs.)
Maximum the TROUT: Is from an image I tore out of a magazine in the trailer of a drunk doctor who I found in a isolated logging camp to stitch my cut thumb back together. Long story short, he numbed my index finger and asked me if I had any 2lb. test line with me because all he had was 4lb. test for stitching. My self-loathing for jumping from the ledge where I was fishing and sliding down the shale into the freezing lake water was only compounded by the last image I saw of Maximum. He was sneering at me as he towed my pole down into a tree-root graveyard to bury it and rid himself the hook. 45″Wide X 36″Tall-WT:24lbs.
Big Sky: CUTTHROAT TROUT. These fish evoIved over time what I call Norman Maclean territory, the isolated rugged mountainous areas of Montana. Their toughness is clearly worn in crimson on their mandibles. All the stand-alone individualistic traits of these fish are in his book’s characters. Boldly or sublimely they are scholarly and profound in their fights for survival and I think intellectually spiritual. I really enjoyed his letters, especially to Nick Lyons, whom I saw doing a reading of the re-issue of his 1977 book Bright Rivers. That night lying in bed waiting on sleep, I put myself at a dinner party listening to these two fishers trying to top each other’s stories of misadventures on the water. But I just can’t seem to remember any of what was said. (37″ W x 16” H – 5 lbs.)
Boney: the BONEFISH. One of the three species that can disturb fly fishermen’s dreams. (The Tarpon and Permit are the other two. This fish is skittish on the side of cautious as a hummingbird is around a sleeping cat. They’re light tackle fish that are explosive when caught. Their power for their size is overwhelming and addictive. (48″ W x 16″ H – 7 lbs.)
Coy Sister: Koi Fish 24″X 13″ 5lbs.
Pepsi #2: Mark the starter Dorado is awarded to The Crown Prince Mark Baston the beloved official starter of Barbados’ Gold Cup Race every year. He was over-the top gracious to Shayne Durkin and her dad at the 2017 race. A gentleman who puts the horses first. 24″ X 11″ WT: 4lbs.
Toshiro: the TARPON. The Atlantic adult tarpon are large salt water game fish that are not caught for eating but rather their tail-walking fight. When young, they enter fresh waters. They can gulp air, causing them to roll and be easily spotted. In the warm southern coastal waters of Florida they seek mangroves and shrimp as they migrate there in spring. These great challenging game fish are very prized and protected. They say when a tarpon begins the fight and is running hard and jumping, give them some slack and special respect. (44” W x 20″ H – 8 lbs.)
Pepsi: The DORADO. Pepsi is the prototype award for the finest hospitality experienced during Gold Cup Week. This year’s award goes to Mike and Pepsi’s Silver Sands Hide Away, Silver Sands Barbados. The award will be presented to the proprietors in Silver Sands during the Gold Cup Week of 2018 from the selection committee of Watchful Eyes Ears and Taste Buds, also known as WEETB, the world’s leader in Traveling Best Options. (30″ W x 18” H – 6 lbs.)