Turkish Towel

On August 19, 2012, high tide brought a lot of marine algae up into the wrack. Most were species normally attached to rocky or substrate or cobble. This material was detached, which was kind of surprising because there had been no recent storms or damaging waves. Nevertheless, there it was. Above is a nice big…

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Going, Gone

One morning in June I was wandering around the outer shores during a very low tide, forecast to be -2.3 feet. You can get a sense of this in the photo below. A low tide like this always brings out a few people looking for stuff to harvest on the sandy beaches. They’re usually looking…

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The Color of the Caudal

Ichthyologists call the tail fin of fishes the caudal fin. A few years ago I noticed some interesting things about the color of the caudal fin in the surfperch I encountered on the outer shores. These observations invigorated my interest in surfperch ecology and evolution and they still help shape my thinking whenever I’m out…

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Boy Meets Girl Revisited

Earlier in the year I wrote about how to tell the difference between male and female redtail surfperch in my post, Boy Meets Girl. Separating the sexes comes down to recognizing differences in the anal fin, color, and pattern. This works well for mature fish but what about juveniles? I caught the small fish above is…

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An Abundance of Orange

Because I spend a lot of time on the outer shores catching fish by hook and line, I’m always thinking about how to catch more. I guess this reflects some competitive tendency, but I’d like to think it’s more than that. It seems like every fish I encounter tells a story about something I’m curious…

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Floats

After a few days away, I feel the pull of the outer shores strongly. It’s not just fish and fishing. Other things, like a more general connection to nature, and looking for drift material on the beach also exert a pull. When I’m wandering along the shore I’ve always got my eyes open for agates,…

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Two Kelps and a Promising IPA

A February storm deposited a good-sized bull kelp on the beach. Not far away I found this giant kelp, Macrocystis. This is the one on the Monterey Bay Aquarium logo. The storm also left a small conifer branchlet on the beach. It goes nicely with a promising IPA, courtesy of my next door neighbor Eric.…

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Boy Meets Girl

When I first started examining surfperch it was difficult for me to tell males from females, but now I’ve got it down. There are differences in body and fin color, pattern, and the shape of the anal fin. The top panels above shows a female and male redtail surfperch, Amphistichus rhodoterus. The male has a bolder, darker…

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Eyeball to Eyeball

You’re eyeball to eyeball with a walleye surfperch. I love the yellow streak on the upper part of the iris. One of the ways we identify the walleye is by its large eye. Honestly, the eye doesn’t seem that large when viewed on live specimens in the wild. When I encountered a large male I…

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