Date: 8/22/19 4:26 pm From: Vince Capp <00000326c7e06828-dmarc-request...> Subject: Re: [JERSEYBI] Caspian Terns at Hawk Rise, Linden Rahway River default bait fish
I'm with Fred here. Although Menhaden (AKA Bunker) spawn in the open seas, the eggs drift freely into the coastal estuaries (around April-ish) and bays where the young stay and grow until late summer. When they are about 3-5 inches in length, the youngsters (now called 'Peanut Bunker') begin to form large shoals, eventually leaving the now cooling nursery waters in search of more open and warmer water to grow to adulthood. The peak movement is in early fall, and when they move into the ocean, they are a very critical food source for most of our favorite food and sport fishes. When their numbers are big enough, they can trigger feeding blitzes by Striped Bass and Bluefish that are nothing short of epic. I've seen 20-30 pound Stripers chase the Bunker into the surf and almost on to the beach! It's awesome so see.
For ID- Bunker (including Peanut) are NOT skinny little minnow-shaped baitfish. They have a much more pronounced depth to the body anteriorly, and look pretty chunky. You may or may not see a black spot at the dorsal fin- depending on your view and the age of the fish.
The fact that you are seeing (what MAY be) Bunker in numbers attracting sea birds bodes well for the health of The Kill. It's all good.
Man, I miss me some Striper fishing. Overnight trips to The Hook in early October, live-lining big Bunker while wading in the dark as close to the shipping lanes as possible to hit the channels....priceless.....
Hope all y'all are doing well!
Good Birding (and Bunkering)
Bayonet Point, Florida
On 8/22/2019 3:20 PM, Fred Vir wrote: > They are likely shad (Brevoortia tyrannus---Atlantic Menhaden), > ................that tend to arrive in summer in the Rahway River and > N NJ as the young move up in large schools from the S and they prefer > brackish water like you were on. > > You also mention Gizzard Shad from a different family....have seen > them but the above is COMMON. > > > Fred V > > NJ > > > On 8/21/2019 6:32 PM, David Bernstein wrote: >> ive ultimately landed on the sandbar in the Rahway River. >> >> The Terns and about forty Cormorants were feeding on a unknown >> species of fish, each being about three to four inches long, that >> suddenly appeared in large numbers. Curious what type of fish they >> were. Seemed like there was plenty for all. An amazing sight. Another >> birder, who joined me later surmised they could be young Shad. >> Gizzard Shad? White Suckers? Is there a default bait fish in the >> Rahway River? Anyone? >> >> > > > How to report NJ bird sightings: see > <www.njbrc.com/index.php/reporting-rare-birds/> > or e-mail to <njbrcreport...> > List help:?? <jerseybi-request...> > List archives: https://lists.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=jerseybi >