As Partnership for the Sounds facilities are closed along with many other businesses due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the waters and woodlands of eastern North Carolina go on with life as usual. Fish are moving up rivers, blue crabs are stirring in the mud, songbirds are arriving from Central and South American wintering grounds.
We've never blogged before, but our staff is going to take advantage of the current quiet time to muse for a few sentences about the wonder of our local world. We won't take too much of your time, and we probably won't be highly consistent with our timing, but we hope maybe these bits help you remember why you love this place so much.
Today's Topic: What is the largest BONY fish you are likely to catch in the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine region?
In terms of potential size, the largest fish with a bony skeleton in the A-P is the tarpon (Megalops atlanticus). Tarpons up to 8 feet long and weighing over 300 pounds have been caught, though it's extremely rare for them to reach that size any more. Still, 3-footers over 50 pounds can still be found in our waters.
The Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus) is of similar size, but it is kind of a combination bony-cartilaginous fish, and is also a highly endangered species rarely found in NC these days.
Black and red drum, cobia, gars and even conger eels of 6 feet or more have been caught, but none quite reaches the tarpon's size.
A variety of sharks, rays and skates that live in the A-P are considerably longer and/or heavier than the tarpon, but all these have cartilaginous skeletons and are a different Class of fish.