Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More about mullets and mullet blows

A pretty prickly pear cactus growing on the grounds of our N.C. condo complex

The wind came out of the north for a second day yesterday, and it felt cold. We didn't go out until afternoon, when the sun had had a chance to warm things up a little. But it was definitely chilly as we tromped around in my boyhood neighborhood at 5:00 p.m., and we soon got back in the car to warm up.

The view from the deck of our apartment at the Southwinds complex

We had had bright sun and a brisk breeze in the morning, which made for beautiful views of the ocean. The temperature was in the high 30s fahrenheit — moins de 5ยบ C.

Fishermen's trucks on the beaches of Bogue Banks

When we got back to the condo late yesterday afternoon, some downstairs neighbors were just coming out of their apartment. They had been keeping an eye on the fishermen down at the beach, they said. "Did they haul that net in yet?" I asked them. No, they said, but they hauled one in a little farther down the beach. They ended up netting 18,000 pounds of jumping mullets. That filled up the beds of four big pickup trucks.

Fishermen rocking the tractor — don't ask me why. Just for fun, probably.
More fun than just standing around on the beach.

What are jumping mullets? Here's one:
The jumping mullet, or striped mullet, Mugil cephalus

The jumping mullet is definitely not what is called a rouget or a rouget barbet in France — those are red fish. Maybe it's the grey mullet, but I don't really know.

The one thing I know about jumpings is that the only way to catch them is in a net. They won't take bait, so you can't catch them on a hook.

A Carteret County skiff towed to the beach by tractor

There's another fish in N.C. waters that we call a sea mullet and that can be caught by hook and line. It's scientific name is Menticirrhus americanus, according to this good site showing the fish that live in North Carolina waters. I wonder if the fish called sea mullet here is not the same as the one called merlan in France? Here's what it looks like:

The sea mullet, or whiting, or southern kingfish

The same fish can have many different local names from region to region. From country to country and language to language, it's even harder to sort it all out.

I won't even try to speculate on the origin of certain terms applied to hairstyles.

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