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Thursday, March 21 , 2019, 3:17 pm | Mostly Cloudy 57º


Captain’s Log: Mud-lines on Coast Create Opportunity, Problems for Sea Critters

Critters are always on the lookout for feeding opportunities, and winter rains provide great ones such as mud-lines flowing out of creeks and rivers.

After a wet winter storm, adaptive anglers meter along new mud-lines looking for any place where they intersect structures.

Those promising intersections may be crowded with foraging game fish and small sharks like calico and sand bass, brown rockfish, smoothounds, pinbacks and shovelnose.

Halibut are sometimes hooked while hunting along the meandering mud breaks and I have even found schools of white seabass working along a mud-line.

This is a treat for the fish because they have a chance to eat a more varied diet than usual. The trick to finding the fish is to read and exploit how currents affect the flow of mud and food.

Careful observation of the flow out of stream mouths will show which direction the current is running. It may be running up the coast or down the coast, changing periodically and redistributing food as it bends the mud-line.

For folks out fishing in boats, the action is often most productive right along the mud-line, a short distance down-current from the outflow. That’s where the greatest concentration of naturally occurring food will be.

Foraging predators know how to find the best spots and will surely be nearby.

Longer piers usually extend out past mud lines, allowing access for non-boaters.

One example, Goleta Pier (in the city of Goleta), features good kelp growth along its west side from rocks piled over a pipeline. That is plenty of prime structure to tempt foraging fish in from deeper water to feed.

It is sometimes possible to cast from the pier, right to that magic place where a mud-line intersects structure. That is the cast that can make your day.

When we walk along the beach or drive along the coast where we have good nearshore views, those mud-lines after major rains look pretty yucky.

To the critters of the sea and shore, whether they be critters of the land, sea or air, those mud-lines mean edible things flowing out from waterways.

Those edible things are not typically available to these critters who like a little variety in their diet just as much as we do.

— 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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