Also known as – Squeteague by the American Indian but most commonly as the Weakfish. A name that immediately puts them at an advantage based on their weakness in their mouth muscle – built-in dehooker of sorts.
Weakies are part of the family of Sciaenidae – which no surprise to me includes croakers and drum fish. Their own nursery close by gives me opportunity to see them in early stages.
An encounter with one is like touching all the colors we are gifted to see in an iridescent glow. So beautiful – although the technical description reads something more like – “Dark olive-green above with the back and sides variously burnished with purple, lavender, green, blue, golden, or coppery, and marked with a large number of small black, dark green, or bronze spots, vaguely outlined and running together more or less, especially on the back; thus forming irregular lines that run downward and forward. The spots are most numerous above the lateral line, and there are none on the lower part of the sides or on the belly. The lower surface, forward to the tip of the jaw, is white, either chalky or silvery. The dorsal fins are dusky, usually more or less tinged with yellow; the caudal is olive or dusky with its lower edge yellowish at the base; the ventral and the anal are yellow; and the pectorals are olive on the outer side, but usually yellow on the inner side”.
The numbers are not what they once were. Here and there luck finds us and we a find a few. But legends live on with tales of 30 lbs fish being caught in the past. NJ record stands 18 lbs 8 oz -1986 in the Delaware Bay.
Cyclical and elusive they make up my list to find the local legend of the sweet, deep spot. Of lately I am drawn there to try to be not only quiet enough, but present in such a way that appeals to them. Just a simple little dink.
Bucktails by Brent Reese
And so the lessons go on. Each fish, each new adventure. It’s been a great spring run for stipers and blues locally which we still are on. Seals are moving out and heading north, oystercatchers arrived, longer days and beautiful sunsets. Hope you are also bending the rod and enjoying life.