It never fails that if you get out fishing long enough, you’ll undoubtedly run across something you’ve never seen before… at least in maybe real life. Whether you catch, snag or just find something interesting, it’s worthy of a picture to share with fellow fishermen.
I’m going to primarily keep this a “Fish Porn” type of editorial as I have come across many cool critters that are just
downright ugly and beautiful at the same time. One such animal is the simple sea anemone that appears to be chowing on a piece of eel grass. I snagged this guy while corvina fishing in the back bay. The corvina were not so willing to bite, but a close up shot of the critter made it all that much more interesting.
There are other things I would snag in the bay that resembled a slimy worm with a notochord. I couldn’t find anyone to tell me what they were and I was vigilant in trying to find out from whomever I could. It took over a decade, but finally came across someone who figured out what they were, so I cracked open a bottle of bubbly since the mystery was finally solved. It turned out that these creatures were sea pens which are very beautiful under water, but turn into “Slimy worms with notochords” once they are ripped out of the bottom substrate and pulled out of the water.
Here is a “Herd” of them that I pulled up while drifting for halibut. I will tell you if you find these things, you WILL find the halibut. For some strange reason they are usually found in the same areas.
Most people also do not know there are a few types of san crabs that inhabit our surf zone. Everone knows the common mole crab, but there is also the pearly white Beach Mole Crab (Albunea paretii) as seen on the top of the page and the crazy brute of the mole crab world, the Spiny Mole Crab (Blepharipoda occidentalis). These suckers will leave you with a nasty pinch and feed heavily on surf environment invertebrates, especially the mole crab cousin.
I’ve stuck my fingers into there spine while digging for sand crabs before and never got to pull one out until recently. They definitely are bad ass critters in the surf sand.
Another critter which comes up every now and then is the Sea Cucumber. I’ve seen them in the rocks and have accidentally snagged a few. I know it is silly,
Either way, I usually shake them off with my pliers rather than touch them for my own silly reasons. There are something about soft bodied “wormy” looking invertebrates that just get me a little squeamish. I remember getting bit by my first blood worm when striper fishing back east as a kid and never seemed to recover from that experience. Yes, I can laugh at myself now for it.