A couple of good signs appeared for fishing Friday. First, the beach water temperature has surpassed 70 degrees and seaweed, more appropriately called sargassum, is appearing on the beaches.
We often have discussed the benefits of post 70-degree water in the spring; however, this is the first time this season sargassum has appeared.
Beach goers and surf fishermen do not like seaweed, and that is easily understood. Now, getting away from the nuisance it creates with those groups, it does have many redeeming qualities.
Looking back on years when offshore fishing for pelagic fish, especially Dorado or dolphin fish, was outstanding, the Gulf of Mexico had much seaweed.
Seaweed is a good example of the balanced aquarium, as it offers the bottom of the food chain for fish.
Thousands of small crustaceans can be found in the patches of weeds and that starts the chain. Smaller fish will be found around the clumps and patches feeding on the small creatures while larger fish will look to feed on the small fish.
Then come the larger predator fish like Dorado, kings, ling, sharks and even tripletail. Also, there is the shade effect that attracts fish like ling in midday.
Ask any offshore anglers and they will praise the results of having seaweed around.
Beached seaweed also is extremely beneficial to maintaining and building our sand dunes.
Now, in those years when it is overly abundant, it presents problems for boaters and beach enthusiasts. Sometimes, it arrives in such large quantities that surf swimmers and anglers have difficulty maneuvering around it and the smell of the decaying marine life can be offensive.
Offshore boats often have problems with it getting wrapped around props, and for trolling baits, it usually requires many stops to free the hooks of the mess.
Let’s just hope for a year of good results from all of this.