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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Fri. June 26, 09 -- Weekend ready

Friday, June 26, 2009:

The weekend is trying to shape up. Today’s cranking southerlies were aggravating. The early evening thunderstorm was short but a few bolts nailed mid-Island. I was doing some artwork and a paint stroke now run across the canvas thanks to a blast seemingly right outside by window.

Fluking is going pretty going. Virtually all popular spots are producing goodly numbers of hookups and what I might call moderate keeper ratios. That still only means maybe a keeper per 6 to 8 fish. That percentage goes with the folks who have figured who to bait to attract larger fish. The rate for squid/minnie combos is much less impressive.

Jay, Was on the ship bottom beach 11th street and saw bunker 300yds out being worked over by 6 dolphin , ran down to Beach Haven Talyor st. saw 12 dolphins working on bunker. Its amazing to see them heard the bunker into a tight group then tail SLAM the middle of the school then in unison dive through the middle to feed then they would start all over again! Some of the dolphin looked to be over 7' long.Needless to say I didn't' t see any fish being caught. Is this a banner year for dolphin? Jim G

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J,
Went out twice more to find the bunker schools and to snag and drop. Yesterday bunker were everywhere, today I had to run from LEI to harvey cedars to find one pod. All told I had three very large fish on for a while, and could not land any. Had a snag hook straighten on me. Paul

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Jay,
Fished the BB surf on Wednesday afternoon and evening. I started off catching a pair of fluke on bunker chunks meant for bass. They were big enough to measure but fell short at 17". Sick to throw back a fluke like that. Ironically I bought some flounder on sale at our local Acme on Tueday night and the fillets were so small it was ridiculous. They came off 13" fish at best.
Shortly after I landed a bass of 35" and 16lb that I released. It had a few sores and the fins were a bit beat up. The bluefish moved through and I caught one 4lber and missed a few others. Right before dark my brother and girlfriend came down and quickly caught a twin of the bass that I caught. I had to really look close as I thought it was the same fish! Same length, weight, and almost the identical sores. His was a bit cleaner then the one I caught, but it was released.
Anyhow the dogfish moved in after dark and chased us off the beach. Back at it tomorrow.

Joe H

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June 26, 2009 - WASHINGTON, Listen up! Carbon dioxide being absorbed by the oceans is having a puzzling effect on fish - their ears get bigger.

Now, that doesn't mean you're going to reel in the Mr. Spock of the sea. Fish ears are inside their bodies. But, as in humans, their ears perform a major role in sensing movement and whether the animal is upright - abilities that are important for survival.

'It was a surprise,' biological oceanographer David M. Checkley of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, said of the discovery.

'The assumption is that anything that departs significantly from normality is an abnormality, and abnormalities at least have the potential for having deleterious effects,' Checkley said.

The ear structure in fish is known as an otolith and is made up of minerals. Checkley and colleagues knew that increasing carbon dioxide in the oceans - absorbed from the atmosphere - is making the sea more acidic, which can dissolve and weaken shells. They wondered if it also would reduce the size of the otoliths.

Just the opposite, it turned out, the researchers report in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

In their experiment they incubated the eggs of white sea bass in seawater and measured the otoliths when the fish were seven to eight days old.

In the first test, the water had more than six times the current amount of carbon dioxide, and the little fish grew otoliths 15 percent to 17 percent larger than normal. The researchers were so surprised they repeated the experiment, and got the same results.

So they reduced the carbon dioxide in the water to about 3.5 times the current level - a concentration that could occur by the year 2100 at the rate CO2 is being added to the atmosphere and then the sea. Those fish had ear bones 7 percent to 9 percent larger than fish raised in seawater with current gas concentrations.

'An important observation is that the effect of CO2 in atmosphere, and therefore in the ocean, includes not only (global) warming and making the ocean more acidic. There are other effects on the biology and ecology that merit study,' Checkley said in a telephone interview.

The new finding, surprising in itself, raises further questions Checkley said need to be explored.

Researchers now will try and figure out how the added carbon dioxide in the water causes the ear bones to enlarge, whether this is happening to other types of fish, and whether the long-term effect will be good or bad.

'If fish can do just fine or better with larger otoliths, then there's no great concern. But fish have evolved to have their bodies the way they are. The assumption is that if you tweak them in a certain way it's going to change the dynamics of how the otolith helps the fish stay upright, navigate and survive,' Checkley said.

There are anecdotal observations that fish in higher concentrations of CO2 seem to be lethargic, he added, but that needs confirmation.

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