Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Neon Blue

Sciaenops Ocelatus flashes her Neon Blue:

"Click" it to enlarge it. It's rare for a photo to capture the true blue of a red's tail. I almost never get it, but I got it above. Answer: Chromatophores, specialized cells actually generate  the color. 

And, here's Archosargus probatocephalus, my nemesis for a number of years, locally. I called them "The Poor Man's Permit" in a story I wrote for Fly Fishing in Saltwaters  back in 1997.  Now I catch them with flies all the time. Watch out for their human-like teeth--CHOMP!! Double "click" this photo, and you can see that it's hard to tell this fish's smile from Jimmy Carter's toothy rictus. Thank God, this fish didn't lecture me. 

And for Heaven's sake, look out for her dorsal spines! No venom here, but they're sharp!:

No adult bull sharks showed up this morning to chase my catch. We were all thankfull, though I haven't lost a fish I've caught to "secodary predation" to one in many a year--that I know about, that is. The bulls I've observed have no qualms about making a big ruckuss, a big to-do commotion of pandemonium, when they make a kill in two feet of water: FLOOOM! BAM! SPLASH! CARNAGE! OH, LOOK AT ME! D-R-A-M-A!!!
 They sure are drama queens! I hope they don't mind my mocking their behavior. But they DO make a big show of it, really.  I've got a few photos of the aftermath--foaming water at a distance, mostly. Some damned close and really out of focus, too. I hope you understand. I'll spare you the drama.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bull Shark First of 2011

     This little two footer showed up Sunday night and swam around the light's perimeter for an hour. A shark probably in his first year, he is the earliest of the summer bull sharks to show up in West Galveston Bay this year. I typically see his big elders on the redfish flats in starting about mid-June, which begs to question: why so early for the little guy? Well, one explanation is that, with most bony fishes anyway, the younger fish are more temperature tolerant, which explains why you will find few small frozen fish after a hard freeze, but find MANY big fish. This is an evolutionary advantage for any species survival, as it allows the young to survive sudden seasonal changes while in their nursery, typically removed from the open ocean bodies in a more isolated bay/estuarial system. No reason the cartilagenous fishes would not take advantage of this hardiness, either. How do I know she's a bull shark, Charcharhinus leucas? The sharply rising high dorsal and blunt snout are big "tells" on speciation with these buggers. Please forgive the fuzzy photos, but you should be able to see these traits  nonetheless.
     Should be a year of high predation, hopefully with me at the TOP of the food chain and not in the belly of this little guy's grandparent. Oh, yes: Bull sharks eat people. They've charged me. They have been found to be responsible for more attacks on humans than any and all other species of shark. These are the attacks that the "professionals" know about, only. There are many more. When one is alone, there is no one to record or report an "event". This is when this species is extremely aggressive towards humans--they know by the sounds and impulses in the water exactly what's going on. So, only the shark knows each of his meals. He is the REAL expert of his own behaviour. And those in the water with him often--lone anglers such as myself, know him pretty well, too. They DO love stingrays. Poor frienly water-flying guys!

Here's the slinky swimming motion of a relaxed shark illustrated: you can "click" this image for a closer look

And here's that profile with the high dorsal and schimitar tail: you can "click" this image for a closer look, too.

I must work on getting better night shots.....the silhoueted subject in the light confuses the "intellignet" digital camera.

Oh, I tried to bind this shark to my DX6i Spektrum transmitter. No dice!
Back to Research and Development!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011