Fish Report 6/14/06
Of Lobster and Fish...
Consistent. I actually used that word to describe the fishing in my last report. At the time it was true!
You could say there's variety in catch levels now. Still, almost everyday there are at least a few limits or dern close to it. The two tough days were mostly due to wind but some schools of sea bass are spawning too. That makes for an odd bite - or no bite at all! Fortunately, there doesn't seem to be an alarm that makes ALL the cbass in this region go on the spawn at once. Often times I can leave one place and 1/4 mile away find a different feeding behavior. Sometimes I'll have to 'punt' - move a fair distance. Work a little harder - no worries.
The weather has been remarkably unstable for June I think. Alberto is as early a tropical event as I can recall. Several times strong westerly wind forced me to work tighter to the beach than I'd like. NWesterlies are far more typical of fall. Tough to hunt bass in tight. Last Saturday we had NW gusts to 41 knots. 10 to 15 was the forecast! Nicked a few bass offshore before the wind came on. I really hugged the beach on the way home. Some of the charter boats came in that day flying tuna flags - Great Night! They earned those fish!
It's not May anymore - I'd call the bass fishing pretty decent for June with just a tease of last year's flounder now and again.
An article two weeks ago in Nature described how Caribbean lobsters would avoid other 'sick' lobsters. Apparently they pile in pretty chummy in a good hiding hole - but if it's occupied by a lobster with a virus called PaV1 they'll leave that one alone. All alone. The lobsters can tell weeks before any outward signs appear. This interesting work, funded by VIMS and Old Dominion University, has applications in our region too.
If this disease avoidance could be said to be intelligence; croakers, then, are probably as dumb as a rock. (that's rock as in granite...) I saw no sign of 'flight' in the croaker kill a few years back. The smaller fish inshore went about their business while the susceptible larger ones offshore died.
The events that began on June 22, 2003 were rather different. On that day I found the area east of the Delaware Lightship, an area where I had been fishing quite regularly, to be devoid of fish. There were NONE anywhere - except for a pocket of sea bass on some natural bottom. Many of those cbass, that single school in a huge area, were infected with small white spheres under the scales - a virus or bacterial infection infection. Lesions and fin rot were readily evident on the worst cases.
For miles around there were no other bass to be found... I think the Caribbean Lobster might not be the only marine critter that senses disease...
After about 2 weeks of trying I got a few scientists to go with me and scope it out but things had piped down. There still weren't a lot of fish around but some had returned. The sickly ones had died or moved on. The area has long since returned to 'normal'.
Two weeks is too long but better than never! Oil spills, trash slicks, fish kills - if it isn't washing up on the beach it's not a problem.
Ah well, that was three years ago. Still, we fishers are the canaries in this marine coal mine; there really ought to be some mechanism to look at what we report.
Property values rule. Things that erode that "oceanfront" tax base get attention quick.
If they'd just look past the breakers perhaps whatever event is coming next could be taken care of before it hits the beach.