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What lies beneath

August 21, 2011

After my experience on the Ocean Beach pier I really had to reconsider my fishing gear. Now that I knew they were out there, I needed a pole that was going to bring in bigger fish. I invested $150 bucks in a nice deep sea pole and a conventional reel (a royal pain in the behind to cast, more on that later.)

With my new rod and reel ready to go, I ventured out to Oceanside pier to see what strange new beasts lay in wait for me on the ocean’s bottom.

After an hour or so of no nibbles on the first cast (really the fourth or fifth using the new reel, but i don’t want to talk about that headache right now) I was unprepared for what I caught! As I reeled in I could feel something heavy on the line like a fish but it put up no fight. I thought it might be sea weed but it didn’t drag like sea weed does.

When I finally got it on the deck a nearby angler laughed to his friend, “Estrella del mar.” Starfish. The thing had found my salted anchovy and was moving to lunch on it.

The starfish drew a great crowd of passers-by, especially kids who wanted to touch it, which of course was great. A little lesson in marine biology is a good thing for getting kids interested in science.

Fortunately I did not hook it. He looks a little gloomy in the photo, but he’s safe and sound, if perhaps a bit shocked. It had merely held onto the bait (which tells you something about how tough those salted anchovies are.) I peeled him off and left him the fish for eating, tossing both back into the deep.

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