Sep 4, 2009

Ever Seen a Fish Run?

But fish don't run. They swim, right?


But occasionally a large school of fish will come surging into a harbor or bay to the delight of local fisherman, and this teeming mass of fish is sometimes called a "fish run". And I saw one today. Holy crap, did I see one today!

We live on a shallow harbor on Long Island's North Shore which leads into the Long Island Sound.  The tides are pretty drastic and at low tide there are entire sections of the harbor that are nothing more than mud flats.  Well, this morning I awoke at around 6:30 and the tide was pretty low, but I could tell it was coming in rather than going out.

After taking care of some business (going to the bathroom), I started up the computer and started reading some email and all the new posts in my feed reader.  Our living room faces the harbor and since it has been so crisp and cool lately, all of our windows were open as well as the sliding glass doors.  At around 7:15 I heard a repetitive sound that reminded me of applause.  Like there was a bunch of people out on the harbor clapping.

I looked up from the computer and had to rub my eyes.  It looked like the the harbor was boiling!  I rushed to put some clothes and sandals on and I went down to the water.  It was a massive school of bluefish that had somehow made their way into the harbor.  Probably chasing a massive school of smaller bait fish.  I had never seen anything like it.  And the tide was still coming in so the water was pretty shallow.  That added to the effect of these fish surging and flapping and leaping in the water.

It was amazing and beautiful!

Around two hours later it was high tide and the hordes of local fishermen showed up.  From the causeway at the end of our block and all along the parking lot of the church next door there were dozens of folks literally throwing shiny hooks into the water and pulling out big, mature bluefish.  I've never seen such a fish run in my life.  According to the guy who lives on a boat next door, it happens every five years or so.  But he doesn't recall any as impressive as this one.  The full moon and the extra high tides might have had something to do with it.

I walked over to the church parking lot, which borders the harbor, to see what folks were pulling out of the water and I was amazed at the number of big fish they were catching.  10 pound blues weren't uncommon.  I sincerely hope everyone was eating what they were catching and not just doing it for sport, because there were some magnificent fish in there.

I just wish I had snapped a few pictures of the action.  Our neighbor says that the last time it happened it lasted for a few days.  So if the fish come back tomorrow morning I will make sure I update this post with some pictures.  But I doubt it will approach the pure spectacle that today was.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Fish don't fuckin' run!


Unknown said...

Thanks for that wonderful story. I felt like I was right there seeing it with you.

2abes said...

thats what is called a "blitz", blue fish are the most revenous inshore species. they gorge themselves on everything and when feeding like that will hit just about anything you throw at them. alot of people don't like to eat blue fish, they complain thats its too fishy tasting. but they are wrong, go get one its good eating. just make sure you bleed it after landing it, filet soon after and eat that night. you won't be disappointed.

Verdant Earl said...

MikeB - thanks!

2abes - I'm one of those who doesn't like bluefish. And I've head it fresh the day as well. Blech.

sybil law said...

I have never, ever heard of that - super cool! Make sure you take your camera tomorrow!

savannah said...

ain't nature grand, sugar? ;~D xoxox

Mrs. Hall said...

So. Very. Awesome!!!

I completely forgot about the full moon! The full moon is when the crazies come out in force. It's true! ER's fill faster, I get more calls, I start to get a bit unglued!

And then the fishes. The fishes going crazy as they bump the uglies . . .

so much fun!

Go fish!

Verdant Earl said...

Sybil - It's high tide right now and it doesn't appear that the blues have returned. :(

Savannah - grand, indeed.

Holly - I woke up around 3:30 this morning and it was so bright outside I thought it was closer to dawn.

Heff said...

Suck it up like Heff did, and Invest in a camcorder for such events.

hello haha narf said...

i've seen the water boil with fish. man, i was blown away. it is truly amazing. so glad you got to enjoy such an experience!

Verdant Earl said...

Heff - got one. Along with camcorder options on my phone and camera. It's the remembering to do it that gets me every time.

Becky - This was the first time I saw it to such an extent. Amazing.

Slyde said...

i cant think of anything nasty to say today.... i must be slipping in my old age..

Erin O'Brien said...

Sounds really wonderful, Earl. Thanks for a great story.