Bunker on the beach, the oysters have butterflies, trash the planet


bunker, menhaden, surf fishing, bait in the surf,
Jim Haug with his hand caught bunker in the surf

Calmer day in the surf but chocolate water still everywhere.  Jim and Jesse were fishing Herring point today catching dogfish.  The beach doesn’t look too bad down there from the storm either.  There were few people fishing today and the beach was empty where they were set up.  At one point a bunker swam into the surf and almost on the beach.  Jim said it appeared to have been chased, when he picked it up by hand.  Nothing like free, extremely fresh bait.  He sent it back out in the proper sized pieces to try and catch some striped bass.  They had a dog day afternoon, but a good time none the less.  At least there is bait in the surf.  Last year after the big nor’easter we had a lot of sand eels show up in the surf, it would be nice to see this again.  If you happen to find a beach holding sand eels fish that beach, because it will hold striped bass.  I spent the day chatting with them on the phone while I was in meetings.  Some days I have the attention span of a four year old, and it gets worse when I am supposed to be fishing.  Unfortunately some days that is part of this job, sitting in long meetings.  Still had a fun productive day working on the next level of entertainment for everyone.  By the time I was out of the meetings the boys had packed up, headed home and our mini snow storm had started.  Oh well, there is always tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day and the next day,  well, you get the idea.


spotfin butterfly fish, tropical fish, center for the inland bays
Spotfin butterfly fish … photo from the center for the inland bays

The Center for the Inland bays went tropical recently when they caught a small spotfin butterfly fish in one of their oyster gardens.  Makes sense the fish would be there since it is the closest structure that resembles the reefs of the gulf where they are from.  They like to forage for food on the reefs down there. Doesn’t make sense to see tropical fish this far north, but if you put it in perspective those fish have no clue where they are right now.  They just find a source of food after following the Gulf Stream up here, or getting pushed around by storms.  They don’t follow maps, or use a tom tom, and recalculating is not in their vocabulary to suddenly decide they need to head south again.  We see a myriad of tropical fish here more and more every year.  This summer that snowy grouper was caught in Rehoboth Bay.  Look downs are caught all of the time in crab traps and seine nets.  I have a friend that owns an aquarium service and he catches all kinds of carribean tropical fish.  NOAA published a report today about the fact fish are migrating farther north to find cooler waters.  Sea bass in particular are starting to migrate much farther north.  Blue fin tuna were found hundreds of miles further north than normal this past summer.  Call it climate change, greenhouse effect, or aliens, the fact remains the fish are the first indicators that the water temperatures are changing and getting warmer in the ocean.  Their migration patterns are changing and fishermen are the first to notice.  You can check out the article “Tracking Fish Populations” at this link.  I wouldn’t get too excited thinking that is what has effected striped bass, that fishery is in decline, I heard a talk on that last night, by Roy Miller at the Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware club meeting.  You can probably expect to see the summer slot season for striped bass in the Delaware bay to be canceled to help meet the ASMFC’s 25% reduction.  There is a public meeting coming up in a few weeks for public comment on what size limits Delaware will adopt to meet this reduction.  I am actually shocked (no I’m not) that hardly any of the reductions preserves the larger spawning females.  I have gotten to the point I am tired of telling people to let the big breeders go, the ignorant, uninformed reactions I get are annoying to comical, so from now on … just kill them all.   So in the next couple of years there won’t be any left and I can say I told you so … seriously.  People will lose a ton of business and we can all sit around and reminisce about the days of old, like everyone does with weakfish.  Catch and kill striper tournaments go on still, when people know better,  heck we had four of those this year within sixty miles of this area alone, nothing like being part of the problem and not the solution.  If I sound jaded then you read that correctly.  If you think me a hypocrite for doing fishing reports and then complaining about people not doing the right thing?  Well, I can relate to that as well.  We all are responsible, not only for protecting the environment but we are all responsible for destroying the environment.  Living in a bubble is not the solution, so I write, do reports, and hope to educate through them.


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seal. ocean city,
Seal in OCMD … photo by ‘Robert J Banach, OceanCityCool.com

A seal popped up on Ocean City beach the other day during the storm.  The Fire department was called and came down to make sure there was nothing wrong.  No it was not on fire, that is just who these folks decided to call.  The seals like to rest on the beach and take in some sun, which was non existent for the most part in that area.  This one was probably escaping the rough surf and taking a break from the heavy waves and currents.  It looked perfectly content chilling on the beach.  Recently in New Jersey at Sandy Hook Bay there was an oil spill of unknown origin, that authorities are concerned will effect the seal population and possibly poison or kill many of the grey and harbor seals that migrate there.  They are concerned the food sources will be contaminated and the seals eventually as well from consuming contaminated fish.  We are doing a great job of caring for this planet and environment.   Combined with the article that came out today about the trillions of trash pieces in our oceans, I have just about had it with man’s ignorance towards our environment.  Can you tell?  Sorry I am such a bundle of good news this evening but when you see this all day and all you want to do is go fishing, and realize one day you may not be able to, it gets on your nerves.  I need to go find that bubble I was talking about, problem is it will be made of plastic.  A friend of mine sent me this today too … “I took a walk on the Beach today looking for sea glass and shells.  As always I have a bag with me to collect things and trash as I walk. I passed two people on the walk and one lady says thank you to me while I picked up a plastic bottle next to them. I responded with your welcome and everyone should be doing the same, she agreed to that. These are the kind of people to me that are lazy and do not care about the “Beaches” they walk on or fish or whatever they do. If one person picked up one piece of thrash, there would be one less. There will always be trash on the beaches for sure, but you can at least pitch in when your there, it’s not like it will hurt you! Give a hoot and don’t pollute!!! ”  I run into this every time we do a beach clean up, people ask the dumbest questions.  My favorite … “What did you do wrong that they are making you pick up trash”  My answer usually is me just shaking my head and walking away, or a more colorful answer is … I just got out of prison, and cleaning up after you is my community service for the last litterbug I murdered, have a nice day, and don’t forget the Popsicle stick collection and cigarette butts shoved in the sand next to your head.  I don’t want to have to come back here.

Fish On!!

Rich King


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