WELCOME, READERS – AND THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CHECK OUT THE QUEST FOR 1000 SPECIES BLOG. I’M STILL GETTING FORMATTING FIGURED OUT, BUT PLEASE DO DIG BELOW FOR SOME OF THE LESS UNINTERESTING EPISODES. I WOULD ESPECIALLY DIRECT YOU TO “THE NAKED TRUTH OF DAY THREE,” “PUNS IN THE HIGH DESERT,” AND “THE WORST LITTLE GIRL IN THE WORLD.” Steve
Dateline – June 27, 2010.
I was up early today. And it wasn’t for fishing, believe it or not, but to go to a seedy San Francisco pub to watch a World Cup soccer match. (With my buddy Mark Spellman, who did not end up stunned and covered in shit. At least as far as I know. But I did leave early.) And this was not just any match – it was England vs. Germany, a rivalry so bitter, so ugly, that two world wars have not settled the issue. It always hurts me that these two fine countries have not been able to bury the hatchet and fight the real enemy – the French.
I was rooting for England, because I own their jersey and because, having seen Raiders of the Lost Ark, I know what Germans are like. The crowd at Mad Dog in the Fog was largely pro-England (drunk by 7am) although there were some Deutschland supporters (drunk by 7am.) As many of you witnessed, the match was the worst disaster for England since Dunkirk. (And the way this bunch fought, I doubt any civilians would have bothered evacuating them.) It was actually stunningly similar to the Battle of France in 1940 –
- Germany stomped the British.
- It took about 2 hours.
- The French were nowhere to be seen.
Most of the UK fans missed the end, having assembled in a big pile in the courtyard, weeping and expelling their breakfasts.
The only consolation is that my German co-workers, who follow the sport with an equal fanaticism, will not be in a deep depression at least until the quarterfinals. When Germany lost to Serbia, conference calls were impossible for nearly a week, and even when I could get someone on the phone, they sounded like someone had died.
And so it was that I found myself in San Francisco on a Sunday at 9am with nothing to do until lunchtime. I couldn’t stay near the pub without getting thrown up on, so the obvious answer was to go fishing. There are always rods in the car, but San Francisco is a bit picked over for me, as I have been fishing there for the better part of 30 years. Still, I decided to go down to Aquatic Park, in front of Ghirardelli Square, and at least enjoy the scenery.
A beautiful San Francisco morning – and not a hippie in sight!
But the tide was wrong, and Muni Bait was closed yet again. (How the hell do they stay in business?) So the odds were not stacked in my favor, but I went out there anyway, intending to use some smelly artificial plastics as bait.
It was bright and sunny, very little breeze, and the Golden Gate was just emerging from a fog bank. This is the kind of day they advertise in travel magazines, not mentioning the fog and wind that are typical this time of year. I have always believed this false advertising is the brainchild of the San Francisco hooded sweatshirt industry, who get rich off midwesterners who come here in July expecting Los Angeles weather. I wandered out onto the sweeping curve of the breakwater, passing half a dozen fishermen heading home. “Nothing biting, man.” Alcatraz was gleaming in the morning sun, and cable car bells rang in the distance.
Indeed, nothing was biting. Not even the ubiquitous shiner surfperch, which normally swarm any bait, to the great delight of children (and adults with no attention span like me.) And this went on for 90 minutes, by which time I had gotten to the end of the pier. Knowing I needed to leave soon, I started making risky casts up into the pilings, and was still getting ignored.
At 11:13am, I got the only bite I would get all day. It was a solid tug, and I set the hook and could tell there was some slight weight there. Finally, I thought, a shiner surfperch. As I swung it over the rail, it was the wrong color, the wrong shape, and the wrong pattern for a perch. My heart raced.
And those beautiful words escaped my lips – What the hell is that? I snapped some photos and let him go – it was some kind of kelpfish, and further scientific study showed it to be the Crevice kelpfish, Gibbonsia montereyensis.
The Crevice Kelpfish – star for a day
So quite unexpectedly, that’s one more. 11 to go.
Ghana for World Cup champion,