Talk:Panfish

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no catfish?[edit]

I have often heard bullheads and even small channel catfish referred to as panfish.


What a crappy, inaccurate article. Indeed perch aren't sunfish, but they are panfish. "Panfish" and "sunfish" aren't synonyms. What are and aren't panfish is a bit regional in nature. Even bullheads are panfish to many. Start with a dictionary bozo. Don't forget, or realize if you must, that the black bass are sunfish and not considered panfish.

  • On second thought, the above changes have been made (somewhat.) I'm also going to work on the article myself a bit, trying to clean up the 'what is a panfish' argument by drawing both positions separately. I'm also going to add a couple of pictures. LaughingVulcan 03:39, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
  • The main revision is almost done; it is a fairly extensive rewrite. It can be found at User:LaughingVulcan/Panfish Mod. I welcome comments here or on the modified version's talk page. If I hear nothing in the next few days I'm going to replace the article with the edited copy. (Done) LaughingVulcan 02:24, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
LaughingVulcan I just stumbled onto this article and agree 100% with you that its current thrust is way off. I am looking forward to the rewrite. Please note the references I included - They are very useful--Mike Cline 11:54, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. The rewrite is now posted, and I C/Ped your references added into the new version. Great refs! I'll add pix to the article later.  ;) LaughingVulcan 20:23, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Panfish Rewrite[edit]

A good start, but I would make one thematic modification based on the following thoughts. Panfish is not an official term nor is it well defined in any angling literature. Throughout a lot of trout fishing literature, there are references to "size is appropriate for the pan". Charles Brooks in "Fly Fishing Yellowstone Waters", refers to the trout of the upper Gibbon River as mostly "panfishing", ie. The size of the trout is suitable for the frying pan. Dick Sternberg in his work "Panfish" for the Hunting and Fishing Libary states: "In this book, the term panfish includes game fish that never outgrow the size of a frying pan." Sternberg does not include bullheads as panfish, while Rice and Dalrymple do. Byron Dalrymple in "Light Tackle Fishing" (1947) talks about the term Pan Fish as being in historical contrast to "Game Fish". In the 1930s-50s, most likely the Bluegills and the Bullheads were not considered gamefish, even though they are today.

As such I might suggest the following introduction for Panfish:

Panfish is a colloquial fishing term that in general terms identifies an edible game fish that generally never outgrows the size of a frying pan.

With that introduction, then the article can begin to identify the various (and they are many) species that have been considered panfish.

--Mike Cline 15:47, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

True, but I'm afraid we're already flirting with Avoid Neologisms. The term certainly isn't "new" in any meaningful sense (and I wouldn't classify it as a "neologism,") but much of the 'Articles on Neologisms' section might apply to what we've got. I believe that there are some species that are "unquestionably" panfish, and many that have sourced arguments for and against. As such, I'd be surprised if there aren't other readers who will argue about your proposed introduction; I know fishers who totally disagree that 'frying pan' has anything to do with it and lateral compression is everything. (That said, I'd readily agree that my first sentence isn't any better, and that the intro section and section should be rewritten - and maybe a rewrite of the rewrite.)
So, if I'm going to criticize, I should provide some idea of what I'd change it to... I'd change the introduction to:
Panfish is a term used by fishers to classify fish. It includes certain species that are universally accepted as panfish, species which over time have been accepted as panfish, species whose status as panfish are questioned, and species misidentified as panfish. Its definition and usage is largely dependent upon region.
The problem with this (and one I found in the rewrite) is that my sourcing isn't all that great. (And, especially when documenting 'questioned' and 'misidentified', it would be essential to reliably source those claims.) I expect to go and do a little research on it - I know that I've seen articles specifically detailing the conflicts over what a panfish is. But for the moment, I'm planning to get out there and get me some panfish in a few minutes (love Bluegilling this time of year - the spawn is on... ;) )
Anyway, I'd agree that the work has only just started. LaughingVulcan 18:25, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
I think we are going to have problems with this one when trying to source a "technical" or "official" definition of the term. Based on three different dictionary definitions the actual origins are earlier than I thought:

any small, freshwater nongame food fish, as a perch or sunfish, usually eaten pan-fried.


[Origin: 1795–1805, Americanism; pan1 + fish] - Random House

a small food fish (as a sunfish) usually taken with hook and line and not available on the market


[Date} 1796 (Webster)

any small freshwater food fish, considered too small to be classed as a game fish, that is the right size to fry whole in a frying pan


(Encarta)

The term is not used in Frank Forresters: Fish and Fishing in North American (1847) which was a bible at the time. He refers to Bluegills and such as "Common Pond Fish". I think the real meaning of the term relates to the fact that most fishes originally called Panfish were not Game Fish (in a legal and practical sense). In today's world, they are all Game Fish of some sort, but this did not really change until the middle of the last century. Just as I pointed out with Rice, Sternberg and Dalrymple, there is no single, straight-forward "official definition". I don't think it will be useful to call out authors or other sources that say one species is a panfish, while another is not. The rationales could be endless and essentially pointless. You can even see above, that the dictionary definitions are technically in-correct because they talk about "nongame" fish. Even the statement "not available on the market" is incorrect, since one can find Bluegills, Bullheads and Yellow Perch in a lot of open fish markets.
The problem we are going to find with contemporary sources relative to what the term means, it that the authors will have defined the term to meet the objectives of their writings, not based on some historically acceptable and well documented definition of the term. The term is indeed colloquial because it is used consistently in a variety of informal ways to identify a rather general genera of fish and fishing. For every source one cites that says "X", I trust I can find a source that says "Not X, by Y" I think we will be in trouble on this one if we seek precision, instead of a more general expression of what Panfish/Panfishing is and has been.--Mike Cline 17:50, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
OK, you sold me (not that you have to! ;) Even if we went to the O.E.D. and checked the etymology there, someone could raise a stink about it. I would still like the intro to reflect the last sentence (that what the definition can vary by region.) Should I find a source which gives reasonable credence to differences, if any, I'll bring up including it at that time. I do think it would help to bring out the various meanings in sourced references... not to define it, but to illustrate the fluid nature of defining it. That's what (to me) would push this past a dicdef and into encyclopedia territory. Even the "Is it game fish?" question is deserving mention IMHO. But it's a good case you make, and I think we probably both have bigger (pan)fish to fry... LaughingVulcan 20:00, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Sounds reasonable. I am on the road in Montreal, so won't be making many coherent contributions over the next week. On Friday/Saturday I will be fishing for larger than pan size Browns, Brookies and Landlocked Salmon in the Connecticutt River in New Hampshire. Hope your bluegill fishing went as planned.--Mike Cline 20:16, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

Changed Original and Comtemporary Usages Sections to Usage Section[edit]

With the addition of the Jordan and Evermann reference I was convinced that any discussion of "original" usage was misleading and not factual. Panfish is indeed not a scientific term but a colloquial one and any attempt to define it beyond that will be problematic. I do intend to bring a few additional modern colloquial usage examples into the article soon.--Mike Cline (talk) 16:26, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Cropping the image[edit]

The image in this article is large enough that the gentleman in the picture can be cropped out and the fish made to be probably much larger and more detailed than is desirable. --Emesee (talk) 00:31, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

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