Freedom Fishing

OB Pier
Ocean Beach Fishing Pier. In case you were wondering, the gull is paid to sit on that flagpole.


Last night at dusk, we walked out along the fishing pier at OB. That’s Ocean Beach.  The pier has been here since 1966, and ambles concretely 1,971 feet out into the ocean;  some think it may be the longest concrete pier in the world.  It also “T”s at its end,  which adds 360 feet to the south, and 193 feet to the north.  There’s even a cafe and a bait shop (not my favorite combo) about half way out.

Edmund G. Brown was California’s governor at the time the pier was dedicated, and he was allowed to made the first cast off the new pier.  As he started to fish under the watchful eyes of nearly six thousand San Diegoans, a large cabin cruiser with a banner reading, “Reagan for Governor” circled the pier, just out of lethal rock-throwing distance.  Edmund fished for five whole minutes.  He didn’t even catch a cold.  But failure to fish has consequences;  in November, it was Ronnie and Nancy who moved into the governor’s mansion.

But last night, things were different.  The port-side passengers peering out of the constant stream of passenger jets leaving San Diego International were most likely oblivious to the scene below.  The air was perfect, the moonlight enchanting, and the waves languid;  it was not a night to fly, it was a night to fish.

Not counting the burned-out son who angrily thrashed an out-of-tune Strat with a battery-powered amp, there were hundreds of people on the pier, and almost all of them were fishing.  Rods and reels poked up at the gathering dark every several feet;  some were manned by serious looking “professionals” with expensive looking t-shirts advertising rock bands and athletes;  others were held tentatively, with the small hands and tiny fingers of little people with less than a few minutes’ experience.

A majority of the fishers were Hispanic, but there were also many Vietnamese, and a sprinkling of Anglos.  Some fished from beach chairs, bundled up in their hoodies.  Most stood silently with heads bowed, peering over— sorry— the salt-air sticky railing, tracking their glow-in-the-dark bobbers, waiting for their sudden disappearance.

Styrofoam coolers held occasional flopping sounds, as little mackerels or kelp bass tried in vain to swim their way out of a terminal dilemma.  Here and there children huddled four or five together, all peering— damn— into the soft blue glow of a cell phone.  I’m sure they were learning how to tie the awesome new saltwater uni-knot, online;  so to speak.

And so it goes;  men, women, and children fish for food, fun, and freedom.  In the haphazard beams of flashlights, baits are cut and cast;  reels are spun and cranked;  fish are caught and cleaned;  freedom is lived and enjoyed.  And the sickest part about this pier-ful abomination of socialist largess?  Not one person needs a license.  Anyone, and everyone— foreign and domestic— rich and poor— male and female— good and bad— learned and unlearned—  all may fish for free.



  1. Seeing E.C.,
    I’m honored; thank you… we don’t care if you’re recent, we care if you’re frequent! We especially appreciate all the wild women that share their precious time here, as many of them are our peers and have blogs to work on.

  2. Thanks for the link nonnie, the pier pictures make me feel right at home, as the pier is about 100 yards away… our last night at the Ocean Beach Hotel. I tried to log in over there (Dusty’s) but I must be too wasted on California sunshine, as nothing worked.
    And Dusty, it’s no big woof about nonnie’s trolls; she’s just too sweet and coddles them 😉

  3. Aw Nonnie, I love you woman! Thank you for sharing my link on Leftwing Nutjob with Saitia. I didn’t think about that when I stopped by here.

    I merely wanted to thank him for what he said to the nimrod Splash on your blog post. 😉

  4. Hey Dusty, We had a great time in OB, and I was snarkin’ on the Harley dudes; (I ride a chopper, and the only Harley part I ever used on it never worked! My sons build custom sportsters, so the snark runs deep) :mrgreen:

  5. Wowzer! Small world; welcome Dusty… I’m at the Public Library in Encinitas today; flying back to Denver tomorrow… just visiting, so don’t know Cheswicks; but looking at Goog street view I realize we went by there yesterday; I remember seeing a shitload of ugly stock bikes in front of it. (Snicker 😉

  6. I am a Cali native and lived in OB for decades before marrying a man who lives in Bakersfield. I worked at Shanty Hogan’s which is now a sushi place.

    Big difference between OB and Bakersfield. 😉 Talk about culture shock!

    I go down to Sandy Eggo frequently as my family still lives there and I always stop into Cheswicks to see which of my old pals are in there.

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