Holy mackerel! Fishy business at Southern States

Charlottesville, like the rest of the world, is populated by a mix of haves and have-nots. Around here, one of the perks of being a "have" is having a private pond. But what good is a pond without fish? Every six weeks or so, that downhome purveyor of farm and garden goods, Southern States Cooperative, helps supply this niche market.

On Wednesday, April 7, Farley's Fish Farm's truck arrived at 7:45am, packed to the gills with koi carp, grass carp, fathead minnows, largemouth bass, and a plethora of other types of freshwater critters.

For just over an hour, Co-op visitors eagerly waited in line to receive their pre-ordered bags of young fish from Tony Kinder and Lewis Sanders. Some of the (luckier) koi will live long happy lives in a small garden pond– the "haves" of the deeps, so to speak.

The have-nots of the fish world, the bass and catfish, will, alas, become sport and then dinner.

The life a fish-truck hustler is a rough one. For five days a week, seven months out of the year, Kinder and Sanders ply a 14-plus state region, making up to five stops a day. Some days, they travel over 1,000 miles in their quest to keep those ponds stocked.

In the end, though, thinking about those satisfied (and satiated) fish-lovers makes all the hard work worth it.

Kai Dozier shows off his new fish.

Early risers wait in line and leave smelling like fish.

Now that's a lotta fish!

Tony Kinder hands off a bundle to Jonathan Baker.

Lewis Sanders fears no fish. Fish fear him.