Back in January 1987, The Big Guy decided we should make a list of San Francisco Bay Area fishing piers and hit them all, one by one. That was why, at 8 AM on this particular day, I was sitting in an improvised chair in the back of our 1976 Camaro watching the rain pour down at Ballena Bay in Alameda. From my journal:
“We left home about 5 AM… now we’re sitting head-on to the bay; the tide is high, the water gray/green and wild. It’s hard to see the fishing rods through the fogged up glass. I’m fairly comfortable in the back [of the car]. My seat is two old wooden stereo covers and two pillows, with 2-inch foam to cushion my back. There’s not much leg room or head room, but I have a pretty good view.
“It just pours harder and louder, and a big fishing boat chugs by, tooting its horn. Down off the shore below the craggy rocks the canvasbacks are riding the waves. It’s the bay, but it looks like open sea. And the sky is one long flat grey blanket for as far as you can see.”
We soon gave up on Ballena Bay and headed for the perch hot spot on Bay Farm Island — but we stopped to check out the Bay Farm Island Bridge and stayed awhile, waiting out a furious cloudburst. The spot was nice enough, but the fishing wasn’t too productive. So it was on to our next stop, the Dumbarton Pier. We walked out about a mile to the end of the pier and stayed there, fishing until 4:30 in the afternoon.
While there we saw a sea lion swim down the bay under the pier on our left, then it disappeared and re-appeared on our right. It floated on the surface awhile, then dove and popped up somewhere else. Of course, the fishermen weren’t too thrilled to have a sea lion playing near their bait!
Our fishing trip to San Francisco’s Fort Point was on another day — unfortunately I can’t track down the exact date, but it was somewhere around the same time period. And I can’t tell you how successful the fishermen were, but I had a blast exploring around this incredible historic site (scroll down for some really great images at that link!) with my camera while they baited their hooks and waited for a big striped bass to hit. In the end, we managed to make it to only three or four of the Bay’s fishing piers, but we had some fun adventures anyway.