No Destination: A Renowned Piscator

“A Renowned Piscator” Historic Marker, Cynthiana, Ky.

In Cynthiana, a historic marker is dedicated to A Renowned Piscator. To be honest, I had to look this word up. It simply means “fisherman” or “angler.” The marker reads:

Dr. James A. Henshall, 1836-1925, author Book of the Black Bass and others, brought fame to Kentucky’s South Licking, Elkhorn, and Stoner streams. He came here to practice medicine. During Civil War healed wounds for men in Blue and Gray. Left, regained health, returned in 1880, wrote book. With U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, 1896-1917, he found new method for fish  propagation.

In fact, this native of Baltimore, Maryland’s book (Book of the Black Bass) is considered by some to be “everything about the black bass just as Herman Melville’s Moby Dick is all you want to know about whales.” (Ken Duke, ESPN “Bassography“).

In a nutshell, Henshall thought the small-mouthed black bass to be a fish with a lot of spunk – especially given its size. He set forth to improve its popularity among anglers and began raising the fish on ponds (this was a new idea in those days). Ultimately, he went to work for the U.S. Fish Commission and used his skills in creating hatcheries in Montana.