On not-catching 22

There are a few things I’m really good at.

Catching fish isn’t one of them.

In fact, it’s one of the things I’m worst at.


With most of the other things I’m worst at (or just bad at), I’m generally so bad because I don’t practice enough (or ever) or because I don’t much care about being good at it and don’t try.

In most cases (unfortunately not all ;)), I will improve with increased practice and effort.

By ‘improve’, I mean ‘be less dreadful by a miniscule amount’. For example, I might be one minute less late than usual, or iron something so that it has one less wrinkle, or leave one less gardening ‘tool’ (=anything gardening related) on the lawn for DB to trip over or complain about. I can even, when pushed, run further, or faster, or for longer than the previous run. It might only be a couple of metres, or seconds, but it’s improvement, and it’s measureable improvement.

I’m not, and will probably never be, good at most things, but I can become gradually less bad if I want to.

Fish-Catching, as opposed to fishing, is something I want to be able to do, but can’t.

Not for want of trying, or of effort, or determination. I just can’t.


We have 2 aquariums; a huge big one with 750L (200x60x70, and a smaller one with only 250L (that’s the size most people think of as having a big aquarium).

Until the end of last month it held the slowest growing of our many discus babies. They’ve finally moved into the big aquarium to join their siblings.

I’ve planted it, and DB has sanded and repainted the lid, and now it’s full (of gravel and water and plants and snails), and pretty, and empty (of fish).

Not actually empty in this photo – stolen from the next post 😉

There are people who keep empty aquariums as a kind of underwater garden, but I don’t think I’m one of them. I like wildlife in my real garden too, as long as it’s not destroying anything.

DB and I had talked about buying small fish and growing them in the small aquarium until they get big enough not to be eaten, and then transfer them into the big aquarium, but once we discovered the baby black tetras, it seemed more sensible to put them in there, instead of feeding them to the discus and buying new babies.

The babies themselves had other ideas.

I didn’t manage to catch a single one

To be fair to their genetics, if you’re a small fish, it’s probably never a good idea to be oblivious of anything large coming towards you. Swimming fast and/or hiding is a much safer bet.


They couldn’t know that I wasn’t (and am indeed still not) a hungry fish, and was instead trying to save their lives (and restock the second aquarium).


Later, I tried to catch the next pregnant fish. I figured if I put her and a suitable mate in the other aquarium, then their babies would have a chance of survival, even if I’ve failed these babies.

I couldn’t catch her either. Or any of the rest.


Not achieving something I want to achieve feels pretty bad at the best of times, knowing that lives depend on my achievement and still sucking at it, is a whole lot worse.

Still, I suppose nature knows what it’s doing….


After spending most of the day* with my arm in the aquarium not-catching fish, I know several new things:
– I am worse than rubbish at catching fish
– I am spectacularly good at not catching fish
– the next net I buy will not be bright blue…

* several hours spread over the day… I stopped occasionally to give the fish some rebate time – the plan was to catch them not kill them, and the discus get scared pretty easily. Also, the aquarium is high enough not to be too comfortable to reach into.

0 thoughts on “On not-catching 22

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.