Monday, May 28 , 2018, 2:23 am | Mostly Cloudy 58º

 
 
 
 

Captain’s Log: Mass Quantities of Anchovies Surfacing Off Local Coasts

The surface of the sea erupted with thousands of skittering anchovies when dolphins and fish chased them to the surface, where they were vulnerable to attack. Seagulls and other seabirds swooped in quickly to nab some fish, thereby driving them back down toward the foraging fish and dolphins.

The savagery of the food chain is awesome to behold.

Water off of Santa Barbara, Summerland and Carpinteria are holding more anchovies than I have seen in years. Looking across the water, during my charters aboard the WaveWalker this week, I saw numerous dark spots on topwater, where baitballs — sometimes 100 yards across — surfaced.

Watching my fishfinder, I could see many more huge baitballs looking like giant haystacks in the middle of the water column. My feeling was that I was seeing enough bait, right off of our town, to fill a huge sports stadium to overflowing. There would be wriggling anchovies everywhere!

Our waters are loading up with food for a feast. We’ve already got calico bass, sand bass, thresher shark, white seabass, rockfish (like red snapper) and other species of fish joining dolphins, pinnipeds and seabirds in the feast. Soon now we will have an influx of barracuda and probably bonito (a wildly fun fish to catch) to partake of the feasting opportunity.

Late July, August and September is when our local seas explode in a frenzy of food chain action. The best part of the season is upon us. Come out to see and watch the food chain in action, or pick up a fishing rod and join in the fray.

One thing I love about Santa Barbara is that, unlike most of our SoCal coastal communities that are into their beaches, we are into our ocean.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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