Friday, October 6, 2017

Still Too Warm

I made it out on a beautiful, but very windy, early fall day looking for tog.

While some are around, the water is still way too warm and we have some other customers jumping on the crab... like the "lowly Oyster Cracker


The story of my season has been "wind".

I think I've been out on the bay once when the wind was lower than a steady 15 knots!

That said, Sea Bass are still prevalent, and some tog are around, the full moon contributed to what turned out to be a very late tide, and with some pressing evening arrangements, I couldn't stay to see if the tog would chew better once the current started running... which is often the case.

With tog, fishing structure, it's sometimes a balancing act of getting to where the current is moving, but not too fast :D

The oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau, also known as the ugly toad, oyster cracker, oyster catcher, and bar dog, is a fish of the family Batrachoididae. The maximum length of the toadfish is about 15"; the most common recorded length of an oyster toadfish is about 11 1/2". They are generally yellowish with a pattern of brown oblique bars.
The species can live in poor conditions and needs little food to live. It is an omnivore. Common prey include crustaceans, mollusks, amphipods, squid, and other smaller fish. Toadfish rely upon camouflage to catch their food; they lie motionless waiting for prey to pass close by, then attack by surprise. They can be found from Maine to the Caribbean Sea.

Oyster toadfish
The fish has a distinctive "foghorn" sound used by males to attract females in the mating season, which is April-October. The sound-producing (sonic) muscles attached to its swimbladders are the fastest known vertebrate muscles. Following the foghorn sound, the female comes into the nest, lays eggs, and then leaves (the toadfish lays the largest eggs of any Chesapeake Bay fish). The male fertilizes the eggs; they hatch after about one month. When the eggs hatch, the young toadfish stay attached to the yolk for some time. When the yolk has been absorbed for energy, the young toadfish learn to swim. Even when the young have started to swim, the adult still protects its young.
In 1998, NASA sent the oyster toadfish into space to investigate the effects of microgravity on the development of otolithic organs. The study found little difference between terrestrial development and those in space.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Backbays Are Alive

Fall has descended on our area fairly gradually, with a few cooler evenings,
interspersed with waves of warmer air.

This year has been one of beach replenishment, a shortened flounder season,
business elsewhere, and bad weather.

We had a brutal May, and a very cold last 2 weeks of August.
Blustery and cold.

However, it looks like October is coming upon us with a gentle breeze
and perhaps some good things will happen.


One yearly denizen of the back has made it's showing in the warm water: the sea bass.



Sea Bass can be found along the beaches of our coastline. The black sea bass is a bottom species found around wrecks, reefs, piers, breakwaters, and over beds of shells, coral, rock.

In my case, I took the waverunner out looking for spot (Lafayette), with no success, using small pieces of blood worms.  Also went looking for my limit (of 1) tautog, with no success.

However, I did find these black sea bass from one end of the backbays to the other.  Ran around for an hour and finally nestled in to a local structure and picked up a few nice sea bass....out of season. Had this been 3 weeks from now, my catch would've brought a tasty fillet or 2 to the table. c'est la vie

From the song "Turn, Turn, Turn" and Ecclesiastes 3:
To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together
 
A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing
A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time of peace, I swear it's not too late!
To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

It's time to enjoy Fall, reflect on where we are heading, and realizing that there is a better way.