Growing up I have always felt an extremely strong connection with the natural world and have been fortunate enough to have a knowledgeable mentor. Throughout my childhood as well as his my dad took me fishing almost every single morning. His love of the natural world and the peacefulness that came along with it began to rub off and in turn I too became obsessed with the mechanisms of nature. Catching fish and spending as much time on the water as we did truly gave me a lust for figuring out how these processes are all pieced together.
As I got older my understanding of the intricate balance of nature grew. The ways in which the tide was flowing, the wind was blowing, light was showing, and endless amounts of factors more played a role in whether we would be fishing or catching that day. Free of technological distraction, the water forces you to be in the present. Sometimes it can be powerful and frightening sometimes it can be your friend but the feelings that the water can give you are continually humbling. I’ve personally had many of these experiences on the Chesapeake Bay with my dad as well as surfing all over the east coast. Situations when you get caught in the middle of a thunderstorm or thrown onto a rock are only tastes of the power of Mother Nature. This raw and untamed power is increasingly being trifled with by man whom of which typically has a lack of respect for or just simply a lack of understanding.
These intricate interconnected processes that surround us are subject to disruption by man as well as the natural processes that have the ability to greatly affect each other. These changes are rarely noticeable until it’s too late. Changes such as biodiversity loss in the Chesapeake have taken a noticeable toll on water quality. This is because of disease decimating oyster populations and their ability to filter the water on top of runoff, dumping, and pollution. These circumstances add up for a volatile situation for man as well as nature.
The extent of the quality of the water gets worse and worse as you go further inland where almost nothing can survive. The rockfish or striped bass which is the main target of our adventures was once of abundance and healthy but almost a quarter of the fish we catch now have bulging red sores and look skinny in appearance. This is a parasite called micobacteriosis which is found in 76% of sick bass. These are a couple of the reasons I cherish a strong connection with nature. Sometimes we would get lucky and sometimes we would get skunked but the love of nature is something that I will always hold close.