Food Fish

Baiting the Spider Crab Trap, Flanders Bay

Baiting the Spider Crab Trap, Flanders Bay


Porgy are good for eating and are popular for local fishermen. They have powerful teeth and can eat crustaceans and shellfish. They also do have spines along their dorsal fin so we’re careful when handling them. 
Fluke are another popular food fish. They are also known as summer flounder. Fluke and flounder are two common flatfish in the area. Both begin their life upright and, as they grow one, eye migrates and they then live their lives on their side. In fluke the right eye migrates to the left side and the opposite is true for the flounder. When fluke become quite large, fishermen call them doormats as they quite resemble a well camouflaged doormat.

In different seasons, depending on factors like water temperature and movement of baitfish, fishermen can harvest porgies, fluke, flounder, striped bass, bluefish, blackfish, weakfish, as well as any number of other fish that may be less popular for the table. Estuaries provide habitat for more than 75 percent of the U.S. commercial fish catch, and an even greater percentage of the recreational fish catch (National Safety Council’s Environmental Center, 1998).
Contributed by BOI Marine Educator Kerri Dobbs.

Mid-August Observations

On August 16, 2013, the air temperature was around 22.22° C (72° F). The tide was at its lowest during the 12:00 trip, but it was flooding when we came back on the second trip. The wind strength was 2 at the dock, but in the bay, the wind strength was 4, coming from the southwest in both locations. The moon stage is waxing. The sky was partly cloudy at the dock and in the bay. This time in the crab trap in the bay, we caught a live fluke, which I was able to show the passengers. On Wednesday, I met Captain Tom for the first time who was very kind.
Written by BOI Intern Andrew Kumpfbeck.

August 19, 2013
Air temp: 77 degrees
Sky conditions: very cloudy/overcast
5-8 mph, light breeze
Wind direction: SW Tide, Outgoing

What we caught:
(12:00-1:30 tour) high tide beach
Beach: a lot of mud snails, no hermit crabs, fiddler crabs
Net: Silversides, grass shrimp, comb jelly (Ctenaphore)
Crab trap: fluke, male spider crabs, Knobbed and Channeled whelks
Blue claw trap: Blue Claw crabs – male and female

What we caught:
(2:00-3:30 tour) low tide beach
Beach: a lot of mud nails, a lot of fiddler crabs, no hermit crabs
Net: a lot of Silversides, some comb jellies
Crab trap: spider crabs, 2 big hermit crabs, whelks
Contributed by BOI Interns Michele Viera and Sarah Sandler.

On August 21, 2013 the air temperature was around 28.88° C (84°F). The tide reached its peak high during the 12:00 trip. After that, the tide was ebbing when we came back during the second trip. The wind strength was 1 at the dock, and the wind strength was 2 in the bay with the wind coming from the southwest. There is a full moon! The sky was clear at the dock and in the bay. In the bay, I noticed a reddish color in the water, which was a red algae. What are the consequences of having so much of this type of algae? (It has been seen in the Peconic Estuary since 2004, a red algae bloom of Cochlodinium polykrikoides, which can have harmful effects on shellfish and fin fish. However, it is not toxic to humans.)
Written by BOI Intern Andrew Kumpfbeck.

August 26, 2013
Air temp: 75 degrees
Sky conditions: cloudy
13-18 mph, moderate breeze
Wind direction: SW Tide: incoming

What we caught (12:00 tour):
Beach: mud snails, hermit crabs, baby horseshoe crab
Net: Silversides, striped killies, grass shrimp, comb jellies
Crab trap: spider crabs, porgy
* Note: Grass Shrimp gills are located under the carapace and are oxygenated by a special organ near the mouth of the shrimp that pumps water over the gills. The female carries eggs under her abdomen and they are visible. They are another common bait species and are very important in the food chain in the estuary.

What we caught (2:00 tour):
Beach: hermit crabs, mud snails, fiddler crabs
Net: very large striped killies, silversides, juvenile striped killies, comb jellies
Crab trap: spider crabs and a male blue claw crab
Contributed by Charlotte Schmidt and Sarah Sandler.

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