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Quite the World, Isn't It?

Something fishy

My younger son, Andrew, and I have been talking about riding out to sea on one of the Newport Beach fishing charters for some time now. Whenever we thought we could squeeze it in, something else would come up -- or the daily fish counts would show nobody was catching anything.

But the barracuda are biting just now off the Southern California coast, so we finally got out yesterday afternoon on a half-day charter from Davey's Locker -- not a faith-inspiring namegoogle for a charter boat company, but what the hell, they stock life jackets.

You look for omens on days like this, and I found one -- an open parking space on the street, no meter, two blocks from the dock. And the guy at the counter signing us in -- and collecting our cash -- said the morning boat had taken about 100 barracuda. These are fun fish to catch -- they have to be at least 28 inches to keep, and they put up a good fight.

So Andrew and I loaded onto the boat, which was half-full for the trip. That's a good thing. Full boats are usually an exercise in tangled lines. The captain spent more than an hour chugging northward to a spot near Huntington Beach where several other boats were anchored and busily catching fish. A crewman dropped the anchor, we baited up our hooks, and the fishing was on.

But the fish weren't, at least not for us. Andrew had a near miss -- he felt a tug and yanked to set the hook but nothing, When he reeled in his he found were razor sharp teeth marks near the bait's tail.

Others had better luck. A couple from Las Vegas next to us caught two and didn't relish the idea of driving across the desert with them that night, so they gave them to us. And a regular who caught eight -- eight! -- had four he was giving away, so we grabbed those.

So we wound up with fish, a good time on the sea -- saw a couple schools of dolphin and a jellyfish floated by -- and reason to try again in a coupel of weeks if we can swing it.
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