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White plumed anemone can be found in under the docks in Charleston Marina.

Howdy everyone! The weather remains “wintery” with periods of “summery” mixed in here and there, the ocean has been too rough to do much of anything and the new ODFW licensing system has been rating a solid four out of ten according to most of our customers. On the flip side we have had some amazing and beautiful days, the wave watching is awesome, whales are swimming by for those fortunate enough to see one or two, teelhead are slowly increasing in numbers in our systems, commercial crabbing is up and running, and there’s plenty of fish for us to get out and catch just as soon as we can. How’s that for everything in a nutshell with one breath?

Seeing as how I’ve been land-bound and relegated to dock crabbing and not much else I’m going to talk about a critter that we find in abundance on the docks, the white plumed anemone. This anemone is a textbook underwater cool critter, it is one of the most beautiful things out there and although it looks like a plant it’s all animal and a carnivore at that! From Alaska to California this anemone sits in sheltered areas and waits for its prey. It captures small invertebrates, zooplankton and other food particles that float or swim by using the nematocysts on its tentacles. Nematocysts by the way are highly specialized cells with barbed, poison tipped ends that are used to stun, immobilize, or kill prey. The anemone will then use those same nematocyst covered tentacles to push its victim into its mouth on top of its “head” or more correctly oral disc.

The anemone is comprised of four main parts, the oral disc I just mentioned, tentacles, a column, and a foot. This particular species is long lived with one in captivity dying at almost 100 years of age. During this long life they will reproduce in two manners with the first and most typical reproductive method being to release eggs into the open ocean through its mouth (yeah, sorry about that, I didn’t want to tell you but it’s kind of important) and the second is by cloning whereby they grow a whole new genetically identical animal from small pieces of its foot that may break off. The anemone in the attached picture is about a foot long but one in the open ocean can reach about three feet in length and when disturbed or threatened will retract into a spherical ball until the disruption has passed. Come on down to D-dock in Charleston and we’ll point out where to find these and many other fun and interesting creatures.

Whether you’re crabbing for dinner or checking out cool critters on our docks I hope to see you out there.

Rob Gensorek is the owner of Basin Tackle www.basintackle.net in the Charleston Marina and can be reached by phone at (541) 888-FISH, by Facebook at Basin Tackle Charleston, or e-mail at basin_tackle@yahoo.com. Robs fishing reports can be heard daily at 6:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. on KRSB Best Country 103 out of Roseburg  and his Basin Tackle Outdoor Show can be heard Wednesdays at 3 p.m. and Saturdays at 6 a.m. at kwro.com. In addition to all this he sometimes actually gets out and catches a fish or two.

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