Waiting on the caplin. Photo by Kenneth J. Harvey.
After weeks of (impatiently) waiting, the caplin have finally arrived at Middle Cove Beach.
Leading up to their arrival, the beach has been completely congested with people hoping to catch a glimpse of one of nature's most spectacular occurrences. Not to mention, they want to snag a few tasty morsels to bring home with them.
This event draws thousands of people to the beach every year, and the waiting, I have come to realize, is an event in and of itself.
Yes, there is quite the song and dance associated with the waiting. Local newspapers have been publishing regular updates, Twitter and Facebook are blowing up with people who want to know where the caplin are, what they are doing, and how long they have been doing it.
Needless to say, there is no shortage of instant information on the caplin scull. I followed #CaplinRoll2015 quite closely this year. That feed, coupled with the help of our lovely Twitter followers, granted me the information I needed, and I knew the minute the caplin had arrived.
When I received the news, I jumped into the car and headed for the beach. Rounding the corner, I was shocked by the amount of cars that were littered just about everywhere that they could squeeze. Finding a parking spot was lots of fun.
I arrived on the beach, and my God, the people! I had never participated in the caplin scull; this was my very first time. I have to say, it is an amazing sight for someone who has never seen it before. There were people everywhere, wearing rubber boots, carrying nets and buckets of all shapes and sizes.
The caplin were about 20 feet out from the shore. You could tell because they create what looks like a cloud of dark water. People were just hanging around, waiting for the tide to turn and bring the caplin to them.
One gentleman really had it figured out. He was out in the shallow water, casting his fishing line out into the schools of caplin. Each time he cast his line, he was able to hook a caplin in the side, simply due to the fact that there was so many in one spot.
His system was simple; cast out, hook the caplin, reel it in, unhook it, toss it to his 10-year-old-son, and the boy would put it in the bucket. It was incredible to watch.
Father tossing his son caplin. The caplin is in mid-air. Photo by Katie Harvey.
I sat near the father and son duo, and chatted with the son for a bit. He said this was his first time participating in the caplin scull too, but he was a real natural. He proudly showed the caplin his father had hooked to anyone who asked, inviting them to rub their fingers along the soft back of the small fish.
Boy with caplin. Photo by Katie Harvey.
I will be blogging and tweeting about the caplin scull at Middle Cove Beach as long as they stick around. You can follow along @LCMCOCMuseum. I will also be collecting stories and memories, so if you see me on the beach with my phone and a camera or recorder, come say hi. You may be featured on our blog, or even in a short film Kenneth J. Harvey and I are putting together. As always, you can contact me at lbmcocmuseum(at)gmail.com or (709) 726-5272.