Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Friday, July 13, 2012: Waves are down quite a bit but there are still some set waves sneaking through. From now through the weekend, the fishing conditions should be excellent. While I never make forecasts for the canyons, a lot of folks are hell-bent on heading out there to get into some of the rapidly building billfish action. Loads of releases with some blue marlin in the mix.
I’m amazed at the way folks are taking to panfishing in the bay and in the suds. To me that’s as fun a way to fish away the summer as you’ll ever find. And the folks trying for smaller hookups are often sometimers, who may not be dedicated to a lifetime of angling but sure as hell have tons of fun when they do get out there. I see from Jingles FB entries that even small spot are latching onto small hook float rigs. Somewhat odd catch (though not to me) was a sunfish-sized pomano caught on GULP piece. I happen to know how packed with pompano the swash can get from now through October. In good pompano years, I’ve netted them by the dozens per cast, mainly September though they were around all summer. I’m not sure you can target them specifically. They feed in water less than a foot deep, rushing toward the beach with the white water from breaking waves. Their diet is over 90 percent sandcrabs. Also, they are not schooling fish, though they gather in massive numbers in a good feeding zone. I usually see them in pairs.
I was sent a photo of a sailor’s choice caught in a trap. I knew right away it was taken on the north end of the Island, bayside. That area has a huge population of these much sought after baitfish, considered better than spot – which is hard to believe. Sorry can’t offer tips t their whereabouts or they’d be netted out of local existence, since it a very isolated population – possible first released by a tackle shop that used to be there.
Email: Has the beach replenishment in Brant Beach had any effect on the surf fishing there? Thanks, Jim L.
(Yes, no and maybe. Bluefish and fluke have been in the BB suds lately but no bass. However, there haven't been many bass anywhere. The real tell will be in September. I have to guess the BB fishing in fall will not be up to par in the replenished zones. Would like nothing more than to be proven wrong. Hey, you can always look for sand dollars when the fishing goes comatose. J-mann)
There’s been a decent dose of debate over the impact of beach replenishment has on our sand crab populations.
A goodly grouping of eco-minded people feel the immediate impact is horrific, alleging the deep new sand literally suffocates millions of these famed and highly kid-popular surfline creatures.
That’s not entirely impossible. However, there’s no holding these insanely reproductive crustaceans down very long. Surf City and Harvey Cedars, both replenished beaches, have tons of sand crabs this summer.
I should note that the truer name for a sand crab is a mole crab, though just to our south they call them sand fleas -- though I get an itch on just using that expression. I even know loads of folks who fully believe there are dog- and cat-like fleas in the beach, which they blame for any itchy bite – surely the work of flies or mosquitoes. That insecty misread surely stems from hearing about “sand fleas” and “beach fleas” (nonbiting crustaceans) and imagining the worst.
Not that folks will use it but the simple scientific name for every sand/mole crab/flea is emerita, spoken pretty much as it looks.
WHICH END IS WHICH?: As popular and oft-handled as sand crabs are, most everyone ands their relatives are unaware of which end is which on a sandcrab.
Test: Let a sandcrab loose and watch it burrow down. Headfirst or butt first? Sorry, you blew even that 50-50 question.
They dig in backwards, as in butt first. Don’t try to claim you knew that. You were sure they’re diving in the sand headfirst. And, if you think about it, all crabs and similar crustaceans do the back-in method when burrowing.
The backwards tail-first burrowing allows sandcrabs to then extend their feathery front-facing antennae (sometimes called feeding gills) out into the water, while remaining pretty much buried. The antennae filter out food particles.
Now to a really cool emerita thing now happening on LBI. A bioluminescent bacteria accumulating in the crabs has some of them glowing like all get-out.
I first got word of glowing sandcrabs from report from Paul M.
I zipped down to the surfline a night, uncovered a few and sure enough they were like little glowing VW bugs. We’re not talking enough light to read a traffic summons. “OK, officer, so maybe I momentarily parked in a handicapped zone but it was in the name of science. I was looking for, uh, glowing sandcrabs. That’s Mann with two Ns.”