This past summer, however, despite the continued trawling, weakfish mysteriously reappeared off New Jersey and New York. (Many new-generation fishermen, unfamiliar with the species, threw them back.) Scientists, now recognizing the importance of a separate Northern-based population, set to work to learn why it had surfaced again. One theory now holds that the weakfish had been all but killed off not by the trawling operations but by rising pollution, and that the few survivors had developed into a hardier strain that was more resistant.
Whatever the reason for the return of the weakfish, the question may be largely academic. A substantial percentage of the weakfish caught this summer had fin rot, which apparently spreads in direct proportion to the increase in water pollution. The disease deters growth and migration, and eventually the fins drop off and the fish dies.
Will there be weakfish in 1970? Not even ichthyologists will venture a guess.
Jim Coleman, who was co-captain of Arkansas' football team in 1919, was a guest at homecoming this year and marveled at the coaches who flourish in such great numbers around modern-day teams. "In 1919," Coleman noted, "we traveled with 15 players. A large squad was 18. Nowadays they have more coaches than we had players."
Coleman's comment was not hyperbole. Including graduate assistants, Arkansas has 21 men on its coaching staff.