Fishing is one of the great pleasures of childhood, especially in summer when the days are long and lazy. My children love the challenge of trying to catch a whopper on their kid sized poles and they take great delight in trying out every lure in the tackle box. But rod and reel fishing is not the only way we like to fish, we are also big fans of Sargassum fishing.
Sargassum is seaweedthat floats on the ocean currents thanks to spherical growths full of carbon dioxide. You have probably seen sargassum, it is the clumpy seaweed with little air filledsacs that floats up to shorewhen you are at the beach. A few years ago we noticed that the seaweed is actually a floating community for various types of ocean creatures. We began scooping it up in our nets before it hit the shore and then gently shaking it out over a seawater filled bucket. To our surprise we found that many different types of juvenile fish use the weed as a nursery, and crabs, shrimp, sea horses, nudibranch(called sea slugs) and other creatures also inhabit the weed. One of the most interesting seaweed residents is the sargassumfish, which looks exactly like a piece of weed until it slowly begins to swim away as you get close. Below is a picture of a really neat sargassumfish along with a few other critters.
My family can spend an entire afternoon sargassumfishing and then watching all of the different creatures as they swim around and interact in our beach buckets. We have seen fish stalking and then catching and eating crabs and shrimp, and we have seen the crabs turn the tables and eat the very fish that were stalking them. We have caught crabs, shrimp, jellyfish, man o' wars, sea hares, squid, sea slugs and about a dozen different types of fish. Each scoop of the net is a wonderful surprise as we carefully dip and shake the seaweed to release its tiny treasures into our buckets. Below is a picture of sargassum seaweedthat was just scooped up in our net.
This type of micro-fishing is a great way to introduce children to the amazing creatures that live in the ocean. Even the youngest child can fish this way, all you need is a net and a bucket.