Fisherman Sam from Oakland hooked frozen shrimp for bait to his 12-lb monofilament line and cast it out into the North Basin this foggy morning. Moments later he felt a yank on his pole, and nearly lost his grip. He had a big one. With his rod bent double, the man fought the fish, and the fish fought back. It took almost half an hour before the fish tired and the man could pull him to the rocks and take pictures. As Sam bent down to try to extract the hook from the writhing creature’s mouth and release it, the leader snapped, and the fish dove out of sight with the hook and some inches of nylon still in its jaws.
The fish, a common Bat Ray, probably weighed around 30 lbs, Sam estimated. He says the fish was a male. It was by far the biggest thing he’s ever caught. “There’s no way I’m going to try to take you home,” Sam told the fish.
Sam used to fish from the Berkeley pier, until the City shut it down. Now he is scouting around for other locations. I’ve argued here in the past that the City ought to waive its fishing permit requirements until the pier is restored, if ever. Permits were not required for fishing off the pier. There are exceptions, but most fishers respect the environment and clean up after themselves.