Pun Fried Fish

Many generations ago, the Germans mixed and matched animal parts in theatrical taxidermy and called the result, Wolpertingers. There’s a fantastic hunting museum in Munich containing dozens of the wildest, mounted, reassembled animals imaginable.

My wife, Karen, took me to this museum where I saw an enormous display of stuffed animals that were made of mixed up parts. I wasn’t sure I appreciated killing animals and then making fun of them that way and I turned to say something to Karen as she said, “These animals must have been extinct for a long time; I don’t recognize any of them.”

This is my favorite, and funniest story from our travel times, and I thank her for giving me permission to tell it.

Rhino Color Wheel

A minor example in America is the “Jackalope.” “Sophomoric” humor at its grotesque best, but since I never got past sophomoric humor in my callow youth, I have been working on a thin slice of the fishing book market. I call my Wolpertingers, “Pun Fried Fish.”
Silly fish, silly stories.


The western prairie is an enormous expanse of quiet. Out of boredom, the desire for variety and just something to do on a Saturday night, tender relationships developed among the fleet footed antelope and the feisty river bass.

After millennia of “let’s have a party” couplings, the symbiotic result was the fast, fighting Basselope of today, found only in a Montana river that was named for the Basselope by Lewis and Clark who dubbed it “The Little Bighorn.” Bragging fishermen who display trophy size Basselope horns are said to be “running off at the bigmouth.”

Tijuana Bull Bass

Tijuana Bull Bass are known as Brave Bull Bass of Baja. They bubble, snort and charge at Redfish, and go loco at the sound of the Mariachi Trumpet Fish. The bull-fighting Fishadores battle in the Brave Bull Bass arena around Tijuana’s Cape Salsa, where the Picador Pescadores get un-seahorsed by the Tijuana Bull Bass. The Fishadores are awarded the tail, marinated in tequila and served as Bull Bass burritos.

T.J. Bull Bass swim in singles sand bars, drink gin fins and bass beer, talk on the horn, and pick up senoritas with old fish lines at the spawn dance.

Salmon Moose

When millions of spawning Salmon surge their way upstream in Alaska’s rivers, nothing gets in their way. Lovely, young, maiden moosettes, innocently feeding in the water up to their soft bellies, are suddenly savaged by testosterone crazed Salmon like sailors on shore leave.

The result is “antlered lox,” and quite the favorite on bagels with cream cheese and a thin slice of sweet onion. Salmon Moose are quite rare because poachers take the best of the early run, known on the Kenai River as “Poached Salmon Moose.”

Koi Gnu

Heavily scaled, bottom sucking, Gnu-horned carp with mud ugly taste and plain battleship grey color, are called the Congo Gnucarp. It had been hunted, almost to extinction, by Lionfish but Koi-keepers captured a couple and brought them to Hawaii where Koi-breeders bred beautifully brilliant, Koi-Gnu color combinations.

In Kealakukua, Hawaii, King Kamehameha named them, “Koi-Gnu-Koi-Gnu.” The King’s Kealakukua Carp Corp. is located where prettily patterned Koi-Gnu-Koi-Gnu and  Humuhumunukunukaupua’a, go swimming by my little grass shack in Kealakakua, Hawaii, and we dance the Kealakakua hula and sing “Three Kois in the fountain.”

Lake Elk Trout

Many a mystical meeting took place between the enormous lake trout and the philandering Elk that waded in waters across North America. The Elk knew the fishy females as their “finny fertile friends.” The philandering Elk, reeking of phishy perfume, never called them back on the phish phone, now known as “Elk-calls.”

The resulting Lake-Elk Trout, with their huge antlers, cutting the surface of the water like decorative shark fins, swim in wildly undisciplined schools known as “a mess of trout.”

Der Heilbutt

Der Spiked Sieg Heilbutt schwimms in disciplined grupen around Bremen in der Nordsee and are the most aggressive of horned halibut. Foreign fisherman call them “der awful Deutsche flatfish mit der floy floy.” Every twenty years or so they invade French fishing grounds in a flatfish blitz.

Dey are verdammt difficult to defeat but once caught they smecken gut mit Polish wurst und Franzosische fries.

Pointy Pouty Poisson

The fancy, Pointy Pouty Poisson, is the elite of pampered fish that were raised by French royalty during the baroque pesce period. A watery-eyed wuss in captivity, this fussy, finned fop with baroque antlers, became an aquatic menace after the great decorative fish escape during the French revolution.

Their antlers are magnificent but useless as the points all turn inward. They used the flat sides to slap bourgeois fish silly. The Pointy Pouty Poisson is served French fried with antlers on. D’accord?

Rocky Mountain Big Horn Bass

General Custer reported that the lakes in the Black Hills teemed with the progeny of big horn sheep and ewe loving bass. “Young ewes lazily lounging at the water’s edge were often overpowered by gangs of teenage bass intent on proving their basshood,” he said. “Many a cuddly young ewe lost her virtue to these mouth breathing villians.” Custer, was fascinated by the Black Hills Bighorn Bass because they are the only fish that bleats as it eats. His troops used the wooly bass skins for winter coats and the big horns to carry their pun powder.

Thanks for fishing with me…


The Rhino Color Wheel is available for $1,000.
Prices for the fish are: Bassalope, Koi Gnu, are $1000
TJ Bull Bass, Elked Cod, Caribou Carp, are $1500
Rocky Mountain Big Horn Bass is reduced from $3200 to $2800 because of a nick on the corner of the frame. The size of this one is 39×23″.
All other fish available at $1200, except for Salmon Moose, which has been sold.

l still have work at the Grovewood Gallery in Asheville, NC, and a new show is being prepared for an October 5th opening.