It all started to come together on Thursday, I received an email from Vegitarian Extrodinare/Fishing Master/Guide/Programmer Neil. He indicated that not only should we go fishing this weekend, but we should go SPEARFISHING. I thought this was, obviously, a brilliant idea and I found out from him what it would take to make spears. After a trip to Salvation Army (or three) I managed to find some mostly clean seeming steak knives for a buck a pop. Then a quick trip to home depot and target, and before I knew it I was wielding a real fisherman’s backscratcher (I just made that up but I demand it be entered into wikipedia forevermore). Though I have a few observations while shopping that need to be brought up.
A) It’s real hard to buy surgical tubing, duct tape, and wooden dowels without looking like a real creeper. Asking the checkout lady if she knew where I could get some sharp knives on the cheap probably didn’t win me any points either.
B) I realized that walking through target there’s this really weird scent in the air, and it hits you whenever you walk into any target. It smells like a mixture of buttered popcorn, lost dreams and mid-life depression. Walking through the store I saw, and I’m not exaggerating even slightly, one person who smiled. And they smiled right after someone said “Ok I think we have everything, we can leave now.” Everyone else was sortof shuffling their feat and unenthusiastically putting things in their basket. Anyone I said hi to gave me a flat blank look that said “Hey jerkoff, don’t rock the boat”
C) Target has an intimate apparel section. This totally creeps me out because Target is a budget store. Isn’t the budget version of intimate apparel just going naked? Whatever
I got my spearstuff! I also have a sword which I hope to use when possible to kill things. Practically I don’t know how much I’ll be able to do this, but it’s nautical themed so there’s a certain appeal there. I took it from my good friend Gofberg’s moving out pile of ‘shit he doesn’t want’. As every epic sword of destruction needs a name, I’ve named mine “Gofberg’s Gift”. I’m creative.
With these tools in hand, when the fateful fishing day rolled around a headed over to Neils. I had the tools of destruction with me. I brought our spear-gear, some cash, Gofberg’s Gift, and a six pack of beer. I mean what else do you need for spearfishing? Well the answer is: A fuckton more.
Neil grabbed what HE was bringing, which included a dive knife, wetsuit, gloves, boots, a fishing pole, tackle box, and you know… sunscreen. But luckily my guide helped me survive, and after a quick stop by the Rusty Hook, in San Pedro I got the gear I needed, a fishing pole, bait and a license. I was now ready to legally murder a fish.
Fucking sweet. We got a cheapo Styrofoam container to put our no doubt bountiful harvest in, along with ice to keep the fish cold until they could be butchered. We also got a copy of the LA weekly to wrap the dead fish in, and some water to rinse stuff off. Then we hit the beach, got lost, drove around more, got lost, and eventually paid for parking and walked over long rocky terrain to finally find the spot that we’d call “Genocide One”. Pretty much this is where fish were going to come to die. And the view here at Camilla Beach was gorgeous.
There was one small holdup which I revealed to Neil at this point. I didn’t know anything about fishing, even a little bit. As far as I knew we put the hook on the rod, put the bait on the hook and threw it into the ocean. Which as it turns out isn’t that far off, but after a quick tutorial on both how to humanely kill a fish, and how to cast one’s line and pull in a fish, we waded into the ocean and began to collect the chicken of the sea hand over fist.
Rather. We stood on some sharp rocks in turbulent water, casting our lines into rocky seas that seemed to chew up our line. I felt like I spent more time on my ass than seriously posing as a threat to any fish. Our new plan was to attempt to go further out into the water to where there was a rock ridge and cast out from there, so we could pull in giant fish and not risk getting smashed on a rock. On the way out, looking down I saw a small purple sea urchin. “Oh look, a Sea Urchin”.
Neil looked over and replied “Yeah be careful that you don’t get stung by those, they hurt… luckily I’ve never been stung by one before”. It was like Alice Fletcher wandering outside in the Sphere by Crichton. She’s terrified of octupuses. They haven’t seen any octopuses. Then suddenly she’s surrounded by 5 million of them. I glanced around and realized I had somehow waded into a sea urchin minefield, and not only were there jagged sharp rocks seeking to smash my bones, but those jagged sharp rocks were basically covered in small spiny creatures whose sole goal in life was to inject a paralytic toxin into my body. After what seemed like hours of navigating the treacherous terrain I escaped. The only bad point was when I fell and grabbed a sea urchin to try to catch my balance. That was lame.
So it was back to the shore, and I borrowed one of Neil’s gloves, and we assembled our trusty spears which we would use to rid the ocean of it’s water breathing menace. Task completed we found a better launching off point and the other pair of spearfishers who were coming out of the water while we were headed in had a good laugh at our setup. I don’t get what they thought was so funny.
Anyways, once in the water we saw several fish. Some small silvery ones which were way too small to spear, some Perch, some Opalai (I have no clue how to spell that), and some Garibaldi. The Garibaldi definitely got my attention and I spent the most time hunting them. They are brilliant orange in color and have a small phosphorescent light on their back. They’re
really beautiful and were a good deal easier to spot than the Opalai or the Perch. So I spent a good hour or two floating around in the water firing off my spear at them. I managed to nick a Perch, but didn’t really get close on any of the Garibaldi.
After several hours of time well spent at the beach we eventually decided to pack it in, but so as not to be totally defeated we collected a small spider crab off the beach and I killed him in hopes of cooking him up later, but he was REALLY too small to do so, once I pulled off the main shell and looked at the claws.
So we packed it in, headed back, and I fell on the rocks, erupting in blood and staggering back to the car.
Today the only blood in the water was mine, but I feel like I made a good faith effort to murder some fish. The night didn’t end there, however, but that second story deserves a second writing.
So that’s all to report. Well I guess one last thing. It turns out that I found out a few days later that the brilliant and colorful Garibaldi happens to be California’s State Fish. Which means I was essentially Bald Eagle hunting for two hours on Sunday. I feel a lot better about NOT catching any of the fish now. Any Sunday you get through without committing a misdemeanor is a good day in my book.