What fish hear and how often compared to humans; first mullet blow pretty weak | Sports | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

Before I get to today’s topic and fishing report, it is 9-11 as I write this report and time to reflect on the 22nd anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 dreadful attack on our country by Islamist suicide terrorists and the many heroic lives lost …


Our waters are very noisy places. Both natural and manmade noises abound from jumping mullet jumping, snapping and popping of shrimp, vibration of fish swim bladders and grinding of teeth, the clicking of dolphins and whales, to boat engine and other boat sounds, to thunder and lightning, and yes, even raindrops dancing on the water are some examples. Fish are wary of unusual sounds but can focus in on those that mean a tasty meal is within reach. Looking at a fish, it’s easy to think that it may not be very sensitive to sound…where are their ears? They actually do have ears, just not external ones like we do.

They have several ways of hearing. First is an inner ear enclosed in their head, which has several fluid-filled canals, some of which contain hard ear stones called otoliths (Greek for ear stone) which is comprised of calcium carbonate and is sensitive to high frequency sounds. It is often linked to the swim bladder filled with gas (if they have one) which can amplify incoming sounds.

Next is their lateral line, which runs along their body on both sides and is sensitive to low frequency vibrations caused by water movement and turbulence. The lateral line is most useful to detect nearby moving prey or predators. Since the lateral lines are bilateral, it is also used to determine direction and distance of an incoming sound.

You also need to remember they, the fish, are under water, and not only does light act differently in water than in air, but also sound. We have heard loud crackles from recent thunderstorms. When I see a lightning flash, I count the seconds to the clap of thunder…one-two-three-four-five. Every five seconds is a mile, so in five seconds, sound travels approximately one mile in air. In water, however, to speed of sound, due to the increased density of the water versus air, the speed of sound is about one-mile per second, or about five times as fast. So, water is an excellent medium for sound travel, traveling fast and over long distances as well.

That’s today’s science lesson, and over the next few weeks, I’ll be reporting on how sound is important in fishing success with both natural and artificial baits from Rat-L-Traps (thanks to Bill Lewis) and buzz baits to popping corks and my all-time fun favorite – topwater baits. Also, why it’s advisable to not clank your shoes, bang your fishing weights and anchors while fishing, instead, keep a stealthy presence. This is a bad-noise, good-noise situation.


Well, it seems Hurricane Lee will remain some distance offshore, that is somewhere between our North Carolina coast and Bermuda.

Like Hurricane Franklin, its effects will be noticeable, from excessive rip-current risks to surfing and high tides with beach erosion. With very heavy seas, it will also limit offshore and possibly even nearshore fishing activities. We are certainly racking up the named storms as we approach peak tropical cyclone season. We are up to number 13 already out of 21 designated names for tropical cyclones.


There is some good news about red drum on the beach.

They showed up at night at Bogue Inlet Pier last week with some nice catches and as far west down the beach as The Point area of Emerald Isle, caught on both cut bait and artificials. Yea! The mullet blow blitz No. 1 we had last week fizzled a bit. It was real but weak, and there were a couple days of big and small mullets, plenty of silversides and some schools of menhaden as well.

This brought the Spanish mackerel back and 2- to 3-pound blues as well. Near the beach, the Spanish, blues and false albacore are all firing up for a good fall run. Will the trout return to the surf after a year’s absence? Inside, think black stripes. The bite is excellent for both black drum and sheepshead. As the sheepshead are heading back out into the ocean in the fall, they feed hard for the winter around inlet structures, piers and docks and jetties and the ocean fishing piers too around the pilings.

As noted, we had our first mullet blow of the season, right on time on Sept. 1. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it was a weak response to the remnants of Hurricane Idalia.

Since then, all I have seen is the dreaded dripping leakage of mullet out of the sound. Just scattered small schools of mullets leaking out of the back waters in disappointingly low numbers without much predator response. This leakage will just drip the fall fishing to death. Needed is another event with a good northeast wind to perk the mullet migratory and spawning behavior to a nice peak, and sooner rather than later would be nice.

On the other hand, the shrimp catches inside have been excellent. All you need is a cast net and the wherewithal to throw one. Shrimp have been plentiful and big. The inside fishing has also remained excellent for drum, trout and sheepshead with live shrimp on a cork being a good bet for the hot bait.

With the weather remaining summer-like, the Neuse River old reds fishery still remains hot with artificials on popping corks, menhaden on bottom rigs, and even topwater catches have been reported. Multiple catches per trip are most reported, often with doubleheader hookups.


Now for the pier reports:

Oceanana Pier reports blues and Spanish in good numbers and scattered croakers and sea mullet on the bottom.

The days just after Idalia had shown revitalized action at Bogue Inlet Pier right after the storm with not only Spanish and bigger blues and the reds, but also that fall run of pompano and sheepshead have started to show up. Fishing since has slowed back to typical summer fare. The good news was a couple of 20-plus pound kings caught last week. I talked to Mike Stanley, owner and operator of the pier. He said that the pier as usual will be closing the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and the pier access for year-pass and key holders will be closing down on Dec. 1 for repairs, probably until February.

Seaview Pier has been biggish on blues and Spanish with one lost king, as well as some red and black drum. There are specks on the beach in the surf around the pier.

Surf City Pier reports Spanish, blues, sheepshead, black drum and a trout or two but no kings.

Jolly Roger reports a very slow week with some bottom fishing at night, as well as tarpon sightings and hookups during the day.


Finally, Friday, Sept. 15 is the start of this year’s flounder extravaganza, which is when Hurricane Lee will be passing us. Be safe…catch flounder.

Also remember there will be other species available if you keep an extra line or two out there while floundering.


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