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>> Catalina 5/19 (Lots of big pics) [topic: previous/next]
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 1:23 am
EgoNonBaptizo


Posts: 85
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow

Went to Catalina on Saturday, as APs were over and finals were mostly over.

Started off opaleye fishing, and caught 5. I fished some dead mackerel with a wire leader on the bottom, but lobsters/smaller fish just picked the bait clean. I caught a blacksmith and used that as bait, dropping it directly under the pier. I continued to fish for opaleye, and caught 3 more before getting a crushing strike on the big rod. After hard maybe 30 second fight I managed to bring the fish to the surface. It was an absolutely huge calico - 23 inches and ~6-7 lbs.





And yes, I kept it.

Justification: There is a very large and healthy population of calico bass in Avalon harbor and Lover's cove, with divers reporting fish of this size being common around the Mole and in Lover's Cove. Will I do this again? Probably not, as I like my calicos a little smaller.

Back to the report: The bite died, so I moved to the GPP. There I caught two more opaleye to fill my limit. There were an absolutely ridiculous number of oceanic whitefish hugging the bottom, and I caught maybe 20 of them, keeping only 8. There were also lots of perfect bait-sized amberstripe scad, but I already had my fish. I put out two larger ones as bait and nearly got spooled on my heavy(ish) conventional outfit. Towards nightfall, a big school of jack mackerel came out. One ended up breaking my light rod as I left it leaning against the railing. I took the 8:45 pm boat home.

End report:
1 Calico Bass
10 Opaleye
8 Oceanic Whitefish
12 Pacific Jack Mackerel
8 Amberstripe Scad
1 Pacific Chub Mackerel





Although this is a lot of fish, I eat a lot of fish (at least 3-4 servings a week), so this will all be used within 2-3 months. And nothing will be wasted: bones and heads for stock, roe and livers fried up and eaten.

Observations and Questions:
- Lots of Opaleye, but very line shy
- Few bonito (saw only one caught), but lots of mackerel
- Amberstripe Scad and Swallow Damsels are back
- Still lots of sheephead at GPP
- Ungodly number of oceanic whitefish
- Calico at the GPP getting bigger (lots of 13 inchers)

- Anybody else notice how line/bait/lure shy the calico get at legal size?
- Sheephead tactics?
- Anybody know if you can fish off Descanso beach? A diver reported seeing huge halibut there.
- Anybody else eat fish livers/roe? The calico had a large liver that was absolutely delicious.

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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 7:36 am
Mahigeer


Posts: 6462

Thanks for the post.

Too bad you cannot make it to mini-GTG.
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 10:35 am
polishfromthedeep


Posts: 992
Location: Central Coast

Swell, some good meat fishing. Always nice to hear itís all being used. Fishstock is soooo good in all kinds of dishes.
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 8:24 pm
calaznfisher


Posts: 809

Thanks for sharing, your Catalina reports are fun to read, lots of info in there.

Just curious, it seems like you're fairly confident that you're identifying the Amberstripe Scad, especially since you note that the similar Jack Mackerel were present as well.

I know you positively identified that species in the past using input from a biologist, but can you share what morphometrics you are using in the field to identify the Amberstripe Scad?

Thanks!

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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 10:21 pm
EgoNonBaptizo


Posts: 85
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow

calaznfisher wrote:
Thanks for sharing, your Catalina reports are fun to read, lots of info in there.

Just curious, it seems like you're fairly confident that you're identifying the Amberstripe Scad, especially since you note that the similar Jack Mackerel were present as well.

I know you positively identified that species in the past using input from a biologist, but can you share what morphometrics you are using in the field to identify the Amberstripe Scad?

Thanks!


This is not going to be super specific, but I hope this gives some idea to my thought processes.

Distinguishing from Pacific Jack Mackerel:
1. Proportions
- Amberstripe Scad on average have a 20% smaller eye diameter than Pacific Jack Mackerel
- Amberstripe Scad have a head:fork length ratio of about 1:5, while Jack Mackerel have one of about 1:4
- (I couldn't get a precise measurement on this) Jack Mackerel are more laterally compressed than Amberstripe Scad
2. Coloration (yes I know this one can be iffy but I'm fairly confident on this)
- Amberstripe scad have an yellow stripe down their side and have a reddish lower tail lobe, and their dorsal coloration is more blue
- Jack Mackerel have a fully yellow or slightly reddish tail with no changes in coloration, and have a more greenish dorsal coloration
3. Qualitative anatomical characteristics
- Jack Mackerel have far more visible myomeres than Amberstripe Scad
- Amberstripe Scad have straigher lateral lines than Jack Mackerel
- Jack Mackerel seem to have more prominent tail scutes than Amberstripe Scad
- Amberstripe Scad have larger/more deeply rooted scales

Identification as Decapterus muroadsi:
- As compared to Shortfin Scad (D. macrosoma), Amberstripe Scad have a ~19-20% deeper body
- Difficult to distinguish Mackerel Scad (D. macarellus) in the field. The only thing I can name other than lateral line scute counts is that most Mackerel scad have more uniformly blue coloration with a fully yellow tail, though some specimens look very similar to Amberstripe Scad
- I found that this is the most commonly documented Decapterus species in CA waters

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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2018 2:16 pm
Ken Jones


Posts: 9788
Location: California

Pretty sure those are mackerel jack. Ice down a couple and send them to Milton Love at his Love Lab (UCSB) and he'll give a definitive ID.

I actually hope I am wrong but I've only caught one Mexican scad at Catalina amidst the hundreds of mackerel jack.

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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2018 8:28 pm
VeeZee Spinner


Posts: 49

WOW! Amazing catches!!!

Is that you in the second pic?
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2018 10:43 pm
EgoNonBaptizo


Posts: 85
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow

VeeZee Spinner wrote:
Is that you in the second pic?


Maybe...

yes

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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 7:44 am
Salty Nick v2


Posts: 1814
Location: On a rock or beach

Good fishing - that's a nice calico! Congrats!

Salty.
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 6:51 pm
calaznfisher


Posts: 809

EgoNonBaptizo wrote:
This is not going to be super specific, but I hope this gives some idea to my thought processes.

Distinguishing from Pacific Jack Mackerel:
1. Proportions
- Amberstripe Scad on average have a 20% smaller eye diameter than Pacific Jack Mackerel
- Amberstripe Scad have a head:fork length ratio of about 1:5, while Jack Mackerel have one of about 1:4
- (I couldn't get a precise measurement on this) Jack Mackerel are more laterally compressed than Amberstripe Scad
2. Coloration (yes I know this one can be iffy but I'm fairly confident on this)
- Amberstripe scad have an yellow stripe down their side and have a reddish lower tail lobe, and their dorsal coloration is more blue
- Jack Mackerel have a fully yellow or slightly reddish tail with no changes in coloration, and have a more greenish dorsal coloration
3. Qualitative anatomical characteristics
- Jack Mackerel have far more visible myomeres than Amberstripe Scad
- Amberstripe Scad have straigher lateral lines than Jack Mackerel
- Jack Mackerel seem to have more prominent tail scutes than Amberstripe Scad
- Amberstripe Scad have larger/more deeply rooted scales

Identification as Decapterus muroadsi:
- As compared to Shortfin Scad (D. macrosoma), Amberstripe Scad have a ~19-20% deeper body
- Difficult to distinguish Mackerel Scad (D. macarellus) in the field. The only thing I can name other than lateral line scute counts is that most Mackerel scad have more uniformly blue coloration with a fully yellow tail, though some specimens look very similar to Amberstripe Scad
- I found that this is the most commonly documented Decapterus species in CA waters

Thank you for the detailed breakdown.

Sent you a PM.

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Visit my blog to see what new species of fish I've encountered in my travels across the world:
https://obsessiveangling.wordpress.com/
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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 4:34 pm
Ken Jones


Posts: 9788
Location: California

Amberstripe Scad and Swallow Damsels are unlikely species for a couple of reasons but I sent information on how to submit species to Milton Love at UCSB who should be able to give a definitive answer.

More likely mackerel jack and blacksmith although Mexican scad certainly are sometimes seen at Catalina. But, I could be wrong. It would be interesting to see new species.

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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 10:47 pm
calaznfisher


Posts: 809

Ken Jones wrote:
Amberstripe Scad and Swallow Damsels are unlikely species for a couple of reasons but I sent information on how to submit species to Milton Love at UCSB who should be able to give a definitive answer.

More likely mackerel jack and blacksmith although Mexican scad certainly are sometimes seen at Catalina. But, I could be wrong. It would be interesting to see new species.

I've watched Ego's species identifications over various forms of social media, and I can say that he is quite talented at correctly identifying various species, including some very difficult IDs.

I actually went to Catalina last weekend to check out some of these possible range extensions, and I can now 100% confirm the presence of the Swallow Damselfish (Azurina hirundo). This represents a pretty significant finding given the rarity of this species, and the relative abundance at Catalina. I have placed a specimen next to a Blacksmith so the differences in body shape, caudal shape, dorsal spines, pectoral color, operculum scaling, lack of spotting, etc can be clearly observed.



I also confirmed the range extension that I had seen on social media of the Rainbow Scorpionfish to Catalina Island (Scorpaenodes xyris) by catching a gravid female.



I cannot confirm or refute the presence of the Amberstripe Scad (which is also commonly known as Mexican Scad) or determine if it was a mix of any other Decapterus species because I did not find any schools while I was at Catalina. However, given Ego's history of accurate species identification, I have no reason to doubt him.

We'll see what develops with Dr. Love! If this isn't a clear indication of warming sea temperatures, I don't know what is! Well... besides Opah being caught in Oregon, and Albacore changing migration patterns to skirt Southern California and all the rest of that jazz...

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Visit my blog to see what new species of fish I've encountered in my travels across the world:
https://obsessiveangling.wordpress.com/
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