Did you know that we were once named Farm Family of the Year by some Florida farming association? Funny, right? But did you know that it had absolutely nothing to do with raising crops? We were named the Farm Family of the Year because my dad raised catfish!
Yep, that's right, for years, my dad had lots of ponds full of catfish. It actually was a pretty cool operation. He would put these 5 gallon buckets that had been attached end to end and a hole cut out of it into the ponds. The catfish would go into the little contraptions and lay eggs. Then he would pull it up out of he water and hatch the eggs in a special tank that constantly circulated the water. Once they were hatched, he kept them in a larger tank until they were big enough to release back into a pond.
Watching him harvest the large ready to eat catfish was a pretty cool thing too. He had this huge net that stretch across the whole width of the pond and was weighted at the bottom. He would hold one end and either David or someone else he had working for him would grab the other end. Then they just dragged the net down the length of the pond scooping up all of the fish. Talk about an efficient way to catch fish!
What was also rather strange about the whole catfish farming business is that as quiet as my dad was, he actually had a pretty big voice in lobbying state legislature for the promotion of aquaculture in the state of Florida. I remember once going to some shindig at the huge house of some state senator where Daddy cooked them fried catfish nuggets and talked with all the senators and representatives there about aquaculture. I remember being so proud of my dad as I saw all of these supposedly important people deferentially conferring with my dad and respecting him so sincerely. But really, who wouldn't respect a man who delivered little nuggets of pure deliciousness right into their hands? Seriously chicken nuggets ain't got nothing on catfish nuggets!