The Albino Blue

Copyright 1968 by Carl L. Biemiller

Published by Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, NY;

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 68-25597

From the book's jacket:

He was five seconds away from the incredible, from the awesome, from a beauty he would remember all of his life." Fourteen-year-old Kent Palmer was also five seconds away from a decision which would change his summer and his life.

It began when Kent caught an albino bluefish, the first albino ever seen, as he was fishing with his father. Faced with an instantaneous decision, he chose to free the fish rather than turn it over for scientific investigation. His action led to a summer job working on an oceanographic laboratory's research boat, a confrontation with sensationalistic newsmen and exploiters who wished to make money off his discovery, and a chance to appear on a national television program to argue against the offering of a reward for the capture of "his fish."

THE ALBINO BLUE is a story abounding in good nature, lore and marine biology. Yet it is also a story of a young man whose relationship with his father and the people he meets helps him bridge the gap between boyhood and manhood.

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Albino Blue

Eric's Comments:

"He flipped the bail on his spinning reel and snapped his surf rod through a careless arc which shot a hundred feet of nearly invisible monofilament line out past the hump-backed breakers."

That phrase from the book's beginning is exactly how I spent my youth in Monmouth Beach, NJ. There were very few spring, summer or fall days where I was not found surf fishing on the beaches of Northern New Jersey, south of Sandy Hook. It was only a short walk from the front of our house to Ocean Avenue, the main road south to Long Branch, NJ and north to Seabright, NJ. I'd look for cars then bolt across the road and run right up the seawall. I had special spots in the concrete and rock wall that would let me scale it easily. Down the rocks on the other side, I was on the beach with the Atlantic Ocean, in all it's various moods, in front of me. The Mitchell reel on my spinning rod saw lots of salt and fish.

One summer in 1962, blue fish chased a school of bait fish in toward the beach between two jutties built to help halt the erosion of the beaches. Small boats trolled outside the end of the jutties trapping the blues and bait. A hook on a weight covered with aluminum foil was all that was needed to catch the blues. They were in such a feeding frenzy we caught many of them. Some of the blue fish were given to local hospitals and shelters for fresh food. Just one of my memories of the ocean and fishing. I remember catching 63 fish. But, that is a "young" and maybe wishful memory. I do know I ached in the arms and legs the next day. And I remember more than a few cuts or scrapes on my hands. Nasty teeth and sharp fins, the blues have.

Dad was always very excited when I'd bring home a big blue fish or striped bass. The latter was my most favorite thing to catch.

During the mid to late 1960s, Dad had become friends with John Clark, Assistant Director of the Marine Labs at Sandy Hook, NJ. This relationship helped Dad's research and inspired his writings for and of things in the sea. John Colin, a character in the book, is I'm sure, John Clark. I wish I could remember others from the Marine Labs of Sandy Hook, but you will read about their characters as well. Albino Blue is full of the Sandy Hook Marine Labs and the Littoral Society who watch our coasts. See the links below to Sandy Hook and the Littoral Society.

There was another Dr. Clark who helped Dad in his research. I don't if he knew her personally, but Dad certainly read her. That Dr. Clark was an expert on sharks.

The Marine Laboratories at Sandy Hook

litĚtoĚral adj. of or existing on a shore. -n. A shore or coastal region.

The American Littoral Society (ALS) is a national, not-for-profit, membership organization, dedicated to the environmental well-being of coastal habitat.

Click on their logo above to find out what they are about.

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