THE RED GROUPER OF FLORIDA a Poem
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THE RED GROUPER OF FLORIDA a Poem

THE RED GROUPER OF FLORIDA a Poem




      

THE RED GROUPER OF FLORIDA a Poem


THE RED GROUPER OF FLORIDA

"The rod-fisher loses half the number of groupers that he hooks. I think I have never been able to kill on a rod a grouper over five pounds in weight. I have hooked many larger ones, but they always got the better of me."S. C. Clarke, in The Fishes of the East Atlantic Coast.

FAIR, smiling Florida, though gun of mine
Hath ne'er resounded in your drooping woods,
Though rod of mine hath ne'er made hopeful cast
To take thy grouper or thy channel bass,
Yet still I love to muse and dream of thee,
And picture in my mind thy lovely scenes,
In fancy walk beneath primeval shades,
Low island groves that seem to float the waves,
White Cedar trees with buttresses grotesque,
Whose tops aerial hold the eagle nests,
'Neath grand magnolias with their flowery crowns,
And silvery columns of the papaw fig.
Here the wax myrtles shake their glossy leaves,
The kalmias and azaleas, interlaced
With purple passion-flowers, in gay festoons,
And lithe clitonas in dim alcoves group'd;
There in deep vales spread coppices of pine,
Dim woodland paths, blue with the violet blooms,
And moist brook borders, glossy with the fern;
Where skies are soft above in tint and tone,
From clearest amber-flush to heavenly blue.

In salt lagoon, in reaches of the stream
Mosquito Inlet, Indian River tides,
The angler casts his line or drops his spoon
For shy cavalle or the channel bass,
For giant tarpum or the noble drum,
Or by the mangrove islands, in whose creeks
And deep abysses lurk the grouper schools.
Tis a big fish with spines on dorsal fin,
Mottled like tortoise-shell, with blended hues,
A fish voracious, that doth make its haunt
Amid the sunken roots of mangrove trees,
And thither when the hook is flx'd in jaw
He runs for shelter to his castle-hold.
Firm he the hand to check his downward plunge,
For 'tis a trial between man and fish,
'Twixt braided tackle and resisting strength,
And oft the grouper wins the desperate fight!


McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.

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