I was halfway through my tour today. 23 people standing in the cold dreary morning frowning and wond'ring when the fishing's gonna begin. And i'm thinking: Man, I better get home and put a blog post up. Can't believe this is still rolling. Tours and eels and smelt basically paying my rent. Okay. Eels and smelt paying my gas and beer. But in these parts that's no small part of the total equation.
Where was I?
Was supposed to meet with semi-famous foodie blogger. Go clamming. But it fell apart. Just like last time. Still i went to dig littlenecks in Tomales and i will now say this for the record. That location is dead. Despite my eariler bragging. Dead as dog doo. Y'all feel me? My spot looked like someone went in there with a friggin back-hoe. Huge trenches scooped fom the shore line. Thousands of dead clams. Total travesty. The ranger said there was a very large family back there the day before going heavy for manillas and littlenecks. Limits for 35 people. No one filling in their holes.
Just made the jump from Tom Waits (no link required) to Marty Robbins (link for the squares) and am writing this only to remind myself to do it again someday. Big Iron.
Today was the first day that I have ever spent in total subjugation to the miserable regimen of infection resistance.
Great screaming jesus have mercy on my soul... a more unpleasant day I have never experienced.
To those who think there is no cost to all this eel murder I have been engaging in, know this: slipping and falling on rocks covered with barnacled seagull shit will produce hideous infections faster than a face plant in a bed of fire coral.
My hands! Great gawd all mighty...
I don't even recognize them. So swollen and cracked and blistered are they. Not in a manly rugged, stone masonly kind of way, mind you. More like a homeless, beaten, disease-riddled, crackhead's hands. That's what the bacteria living in seagullshit have done to me (they have a psychic connexion to monkeyface eels--who also poop on these rocks, but lower in the intertidal, thus making it possible for the dominant seagull guano bacteria to thrive in their own nasty little monoculture at the top of the intertidal (yes I read that later and decided to keep it) whilst the monkeyface eel shit bacteria, (surely a a stronger and more menacing specie) dominate below.
Milton Love in his seminal (though cumbersomely titled) work: Certainly More Than You Want To Know About The Fishes Of The Pacific Coast, A Post Modern Experience, takes issue with the use of "whilst" over "while." Whilst we here at Monkeyface News HQ, would like to encourage the use of the archaic consonantals wherever the opportunity doth existeth.
Where was I?
Nailed the smelt yesterday. A rewarding experience if ever there was one. Spent the morning fishing MF Eels. Nabbed fourteen. 4 honkers dropped. 7 dinks thrown back. 11 shaker grass rockfish. 3 shaker brown rockfish. One 13 inch cabezon. Two huge rock crabs, also returned. Came to 23 pounds. 14 eels. 23 pounds. 14 eels 23 pounds, 14 eels 23 pounds.
Go ahead ye eel champions and rivals to my throne. Go catch 23 pounds of eels and tell me about it. Seriously tho. I'm locked into some intense predator/prey stuff right now. Becoming one with the eel. I dream the eel. Vast mucoidal dreams of dark cold places and the slow grazing of slippery green stuff.
Things One Sees When One Becomes One With The Eel
1. Visuals: sometimes you actually see the eel's head stcking out of the hole and watch it take the squid... this has been happening more and more of late. As it always seems to occur in the same shaped hole, I'm usually prepared in advance.
2. Rock eels: No rock eels on man-made structure.
3. Top Water: occasionally, an eel takes the squid on the surface. I'm not kidding about this. Rambunctous teenage eels will occasionally launch themselves from their holes like Florida black bass. There is no one else on earth who has ever experienced this (not even Mikey). Not even crazy Dave.
4. Infection: The insanely rapid progress of infections caused by scraping one's hands and fore arms on seagull-guano-encrusted rocks, is an evbery day hazard to the pro eel sniggler.
5. 5/5: Every day wherein at least 5 hours are spent snigglng, at least 5 monster eels will be hooked, brought to the surface and lost.
6. Abundance: the apparent abundance of mf eels does not seem to be deeply impacted in one 100 yard span by relatively continuous fishing pressure over a six month period. In otherwords. 2 areas of about 100 yards in total shoreline area have not decreased in CPUE over 6 months of heavy poke poling. Wherein 10 to 30 eels are caught per week for 26 weeks, by two deranged men in white boots. In other words, we are getting the same number of eels as we did at the outset. With no decrease in average size.
More on this later...