Southern fish experiencing identity crises

By Celia Rivenbark

Next time Bubba and Billy Bob  go fishing, they might discover the fish more or less moseys onto the hook, languishes on the line and then passively lays there in the cooler smoothing its scales instead of flailing.

Scientists have discovered estrogen in the water is making fish, particularly large-mouthed bass in the South, less aggressive. Turns out 70 to 90 percent of the bass in ponds across the Southeast have both male and female sex characteristics.

Which goes a long way toward explaining why some of the time they want to pound beers with the guys at BW3′s and the rest of the time they get giddy about the semi-annual shoe sale at Dillard’s .

This new revelation could result in a recall of that horrid wall plaque with the singing bass on it. Instead of singing “Take Me to the River” perhaps some show tunes would be in order. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The bigger worry here is where all this estrogen is coming from and why is it so much more prevalent in the Southeast? In Alaska’s   Yukon River , for instance, fish are completely free of the intersex condition, preferring to wear lumberjack plaid shirts for the boys and something slightly slutty from  Forever 21  for the girls. Well, almost.

Scientists say this gender-bending may hamper the ability of fish to reproduce. With so many male fish taking on female characteristics, the fish are in a sort of sexual limbo, sadly disinterested in procreation.

Oh, if only deer, squirrels and Kardashians would acquire this particular affliction. I’m just kidding. I don’t really have anything against squirrels. Or deer.

Scientists also say there is no harm to the consumer in eating intersex fish. It’s not as if you’re eating those 24-eyed fish swimming around the nuke pond on “The Simpsons.” The absolute worst thing that would happen is that, if you’re a boy, well, your “bidness” will fall off. So what?

Having spent my formative years fishing in country ponds and catching more than a few large- and small-mouthed bass myself, I think this is going to make for some depressing trips in the future. The fun is in the fight! If the fish simply yawns in my direction and suggests a light breading of panko crumbs with a modest pinot on the side, there’s no real sport in that.

Of course this is serious business and I’m sure more than a few of you will write to say this is an ecological nightmare and they wish my “bidness” would fall off, too. In the meantime, stop flushing your birth control pills (?!) and give our Southern bass a chance to get their groove back. Are we good?

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