Howdy everyone! Our second kick at summer continues and I have still been fishing the bay and the beaches with a constant supply of rockfish and surfperch to prove it!
A small school of salmon came ‘a wanderin’ into the bay this past week and a few folks caught some Chinook because of it in addition to a lot of coho, unfortunately almost none of the coho were fin clipped so most had to be thrown back.
Speaking of salmon, we found one on the beach last week, clinging to life but still alive so we bonked it on the head, tagged it, and filleted it on the tailgate to BBQ! A big ‘ole bonus fish sounds good right? Well, it turns out that that is 100 percent NOT the legal way to catch a salmon.
Salmon must be caught by angling and even though this 36 inch 20 pound chrome bright beauty was dying when we harvested it and despite the fact we tagged it, it is still illegal to do. Yeah, we got in a bit of trouble and lost our salmon but hopefully this will serve as a cautionary tale to someone reading this and keep you from making the same mistake. As a side note, if I had run it over with my truck on the beach and attempted to use the new road-kill salvage law it would still be illegal. I checked on that one just in case it happens again.
Crabbing is picking up in the bay but can still be hit or miss. There’s a ton of rockfish as I mentioned earlier. On one of my bay trips this week I snagged and recovered a cool little fella that we will talk about this week. He is purple and spikey, and uses his pedicellariae to move about the rocks of the ocean floor. The critter I speak of, is a purple sea urchin, and the little fella pictured here was a complete surprise when I reeled him in. I was stuck on some rocks and when I broke loose and reeled in it felt like perhaps I had a piece of kelp or a starfish. Boy did his day go from good to bad in a hurry.
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The pedicelariae I refered to are not the long purple spikes we see on an urchin but rather their sticky little feet on their underside. What’s really amazing about these things is that both the pedicelariae and their spines are light sensitive and if ya shine a really bright light at them they will point towards the light!
Our coast has red and purple sea urchins and our friend is of the smaller purple variety. These unique animals range from Baja to Alaska in shallow waters from the low tide line out to 300 feet. They are relatively fragile and will only live in areas where they are protected from aggressive wave action. One of my favorite local urchin spots is Sunset Bay, and if you get out there on a good low tide and work your way around the South edge (there’s a small trail worthy of the title “goat path”) you will be rewarded with a large pool of beautiful flower-like, purple colored urchins in addition to sea anemones and a wide assortment of small crab and other sea life. Urchins possess neither a brain nor a heart, so I imagine it is only a matter of time before one runs for political office.
This beautiful and bizarre creature lives up to five decades and has a specialized mouth containing five teeth on the bottom of its body which allows it to scrape seaweed, kelp, and algae off the sea floor. If the living is easy, as it is in some of our tidal pools the urchin will sit back and wait for the tides to bring food to them, barely if ever moving from their home spot.
These animals are just another in the infinite list of what we have in our back yard that we call the Pacific Ocean.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.