I took a little break from hanging around Fisherman’s Wharf the other day and hitched a ride out beyond the big orange bridge on a small fishing boat. The rest of the boys flew out, but I camped out on the top of a boat that was loaded with tourist fishermen and fisherwomen. Not a bad crowd and they did have lots of snacks that they were willing to share.
Of course I did not think that I was going to catch a salmon, but they use small frozen fish for bait and upon occasion they either drop them of take them off the hook and throw them overboard. I scored about 6 or 7 bait fish with little or no effort along with some potato chips and bagel pieces.
As we left the dock at Fisherman’s Wharf we went out behind the ship and I saw the back end where Claudia and Charlie have their nest. Nothing going on and from their standpoint I know they are getting frustrated. The ship does look nice with the new paint job.
When we got out to the area where they were going to fish everybody put on bait and dropped their lines. They had several nice runs of salmon and the bait was flying around. While I was resting on the top of the boat the other members of the avian squadron were cruising around over the boat hoping for a handout. These kids honestly think they are going to catch a salmon that gets thrown back into the ocean. Apparently some of the fish that were caught were not big enough or something because they got taken off the hook and thrown back in.
We also had some pelicans floating around, but when the wind came up and the swells got too big both the boats and the birds headed back to the shelter of the bay because everybody was bouncing around. When we got back to the wharf area they unloaded the boat and divided up the fish they had caught so the party was over for us.
Editor’s Note: It is salmon season and the charter boats leave Fisherman’s Wharf daily with parties of anxious fisher persons. They generally travel out beyond the Golden Gate Bridge and offshore 10 or 20 miles. The salmon are feeding on small shrimp and other krill that swarm in the area. Bob mentioned that some of the fish were thrown back into the ocean. There is a size limit for salmon and if the immature fish are caught, they are called ‘shakers’, they get unhooked and thrown back. Bob also mentioned seeing pelicans. These are the Brown Pelican which were on the endangered species list not too long ago. They are now in the midst of a strange crisis which has many of them struggling for food. The Brown Pelican ( Pelecanus occidentalis ) made quite a come back from some years ago when they were on the Endangered Species list.
The gulls follow the boats out to the fishing grounds in hopes of gleaning some scraps. If you are interested in salmon fishing or want to visit the SS Jeremiah O’Brien please come to Fisherman’s Wharf.