Happy Thursday, everyone!
The winds have been a bit blustery but it’s still been an amazing summer on our coast. Prior to the winds howling through we have had an “iffy” tuna bite. If you are in the right spot and if you are out on the right day and if you are holding your tongue just right you’ll load up on the fish. If not then you’re taking a nice leisurely ride through the Pacific Ocean. We’ll see what the ocean dishes up once this wind lays down.
Salmon are getting caught in low but ever increasing numbers in our bay and river system. These numbers will only increase as time passes. Rockfishing remains fantastic with limits of some of the biggest fish we’ve seen in a long time. A lot of the Black Rockfish are still feeding on or near surface; don’t forget your light tackle.
Lingcod is good to very good and a lot of huge cabezon are being caught lately. Crabbing remains good on the docks, great in the bay and phenomenal in the ocean — still lots of 8-inch across ocean crabs to be caught out there, folks.
Surf-perch fishing is stupid good (Can I say “stupid good”? Doesn’t matter, I just did.) Millions of mole crabs are molting and their soft little bodies make good eats for the surf-perch right now. Throw light gear with a Berkley Gulp Camo Sandworm into the pockets about 3 or 4 feet deep, 20 to 40 feet from shore. There’s a ton of big perch in there.
Today we are going to talk about an interesting little critter we find almost everywhere there are rocks exposed at low tide, (the high intertidal area) the Limpet.
The limpet is a “gastropod,” a close relative of the snail and apparently just as tasty. "Tasty” — yeah, even I have limits, so I’ll just take someone else’s word for it. There are several species of limpets and the one I encountered most while out exploring the other day was the ribbed limpet.
The ribbed limpet affixes itself to its home by means of a single “foot” and only moves at night to feed on algae it scrapes off its home rock with its radula, a rasp-shaped “tongue.” Traveling 6 inches to 3 feet each night it finds its way home each morning by backtracking on its slime trail, much how politicians find their way back to their offices after dark.
Limpets grow to maturity in about five years and in this time they erode a “scar” into their home spot which is distinctive to their shell shape. When low tide comes, the Limpet secretes a mucus that acts as a gasket seal and holds water in its shell until the next high tide. If you want to do a little experiment, the next time you see one of these little fellows go ahead and give it a sideways nudge with your finger. It will move a little and then clamp down on its rock for all its worth. Now try to move it again — it’s not going anywhere.
The limpet releases its eggs in the winter and spring during high tide and the eggs float freely until they attach to a rock of their own, starting their own cycle of life. If you’re out tide-pooling or wandering the beach I hope to see you out there.