We Wish You A Silly Fishmas

by Kim Luke

Night Before Fishmas

“Twas the night before Fishmas, when all through the space
Not a creature was stirring, not even a Dace;
The fyke nets were hung by the boat dock with care,
In hopes that St. Fish-olas soon would be there;

The salmon eggs were nestled all snug in their redds;
While visions of zooplankton danced in their heads;
Andd mamma in her life vest, and I in my cap,
Had just docked our boathouse for a long winter’s nap,

When out of the water there arose a fish ladder,
I sprang from my seat to see what was the matter.
Away to the port side I ran like a flash,
Tore up the shutters and threw up a sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow;
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did glimpse,
But a miniature boat and eight tiny rein-fish,

With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Fish.
More rapid than sailfish his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

“Now, Bluegill! now, Largemouth! now, Sturgeon and Splitie!
On, Striped Bass! on, Sucker! on, Tule! and Crappie!
To the top of the dam! to the top of the trawl!
Now swim away! swim away! swim away all!”

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, swim to the sky;
So up to the boathouse the fishes they flew
With the boat full of toys, and St. Fish-olas too—

And then, in a twinkling, I heard with a swish
The flipping and flopping of each little fish.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Into the cabin St. Fisholas came with a bound.

He was all dressed in fur, from his head to his fins,
And his clothes were tarnished with ag run-off—what a sin!;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back;
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes—how they twinkled! His lateral line, how merry!
His operculum like roses, his adipose fin like a cherry!
His droll little maxilla was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his pharyngeal teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had broad fins and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly-(fishes).

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old trout,
And I laughed when I saw him, T’was St. Fish, no doubt;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the tackleboxes; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his fin aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the cabin he rose; He sprang to his boat, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard his exclaim, ere he swam out of sight—
Happy Fishmas to all, and to all a good night!

Rudolph the Redear Sunfish

You know Bluegill and Crappie and Greenie and Largemouth
Smallmouth and Longear and Warmouth and Rock Bass
But do you recall
The most famous sunfish of all?

Rudolph the Redear Sunfish
Had a shiny opercle flap
And if you ever saw it
You would say “What’s up with that?”

All of the other sunfish
Used to laugh and call him names
They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any sunfish games

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say
“Rudolph, with your spot so bright
Won’t you guide my boat tonight?”

Then how the sunfish loved him
As they shouted out with glee
“Rudolph the Redear Sunfish
You’ll go down in history”

About Andrew Rypel

Andrew L. Rypel is a Professor and the Peter B. Moyle and California Trout Chair of coldwater fish ecology at the University of California, Davis. He is a faculty member in the Department of Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology and Director of the Center for Watershed Sciences.
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2 Responses to We Wish You A Silly Fishmas

  1. CW says:

    So sweet! Thank you!

  2. Very entertaining!

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