By Tyler Thorsen
I invited Al Oswalt to join me on what turned out to be a very interesting scouting trip of PINS on 3 Aug. We were on the beach a little before daylite and immediately noted that the night time high tides had been quite high. Driving for the first few miles was rather slow with lots of “wash boarding” present due to the extremely high volume of vehicular traffic the northern end of the beach has been experiencing during this high heat and calm seas time of year. Turtle patrollers were already working with a new found Green turtle nest just north of the 4 wheel drive sign although it was not yet daylite. Around the 17 mile beach we stopped and assisted visitors with a dead battery. It gave me the opportunity to test drive our portable jumpstart system and I sure would recommend one to anyone doing a lot of overnight 4 wheel driving and camping. They were nice folks who were down there celebrating their 20th. wedding anniversary. It felt good to be able to help them out and they promised to be at next year’s Big Shell Beach Cleanup so it was a win-win all the way around. Driving was 2 wheel drive till we reached a small torn up area just north of the 25 that required the use of 4 wheel high. The majority of the driving south of there continued to be 2 wheel drive but there were small areas where the water line had sheared away the beach and 4 wheel drive was required; especially the closer we got to the Port Mansfield channel. That is typical of this time of the year; as is ponding of water above the tide line. No fresh sargassum was observed north the 30 mile and very little south of there. Some old dead sargassum was occasionally encountered but not enough to hinder fishing. The water was clear and green from one end of the beach to the other. No off colored water and NO UPWELLING of cold water was observed. If anything, the water temperature at the jetty was a little warmer than to the north. Fishing was slow and anglers with whom we spoke were complaining about it all along the beach. Some speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and whiting were encountered. In the early afternoon a heavy squall line approached and pounded us with the heavy rain coming sideways for 8 solid miles as we crept back to the north barely able to see. The entire beach was standing water and we sure used a lot of unexpected gas on our way out. Make sure you top off your tanks prior to going south.
Bird species observed include the regulars (as per recent reports) with the only exceptions being 2 Spotted Sandpipers and 5 Tri-colored Herons. These are migrants.
We could have some tricky weather in the upcoming days so stay up on you weather reports and with a full moon Monday that tide is going to be higher. IF that tropical entity forecast to enter the Gulf mid week does so the water will goes to the dunes when it does. Be Careful, Be Courteous, Be Kind Billy