Striper Out

Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) caught on lure

This Striped Bass made a fatal mistake. It mistook a fisher’s lure for a minnow and bit hard. There was no escape after that. The young fisher with a Mickey Mouse hoodie hauled it in, unhooked it, and stowed it away, out of the water that was its life. He measured it at 21 inches. This happened on the Virginia Street Extension at about 10 a.m. with the tide at about 4 feet, rising.

I love seafood and eat a fair amount of it, but couldn’t help feeling empathy for the fish in its death struggle. A swifter dispatch seems more humane.

There’s an anecdote in Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography where he considered becoming a vegetarian, but then caught a big fish and in its stomach was a smaller fish. He reflected that if the big fish could eat fish, he could as well.

The Berkeley municipal pier, when it was open, provided a license-free fishing spot. When the pier was shut down due to lack of maintenance, I advocated that licenses should be waived in Chavez Park until the pier was restored. See “Free Pass for fisherpeople at the park,” Jul 23 2015.

There is the occasional slob (see “Uncool Fisherpeople,” Jun 11 2017) but most fishers are cool, collect all their lines and hooks and don’t leave trash.

I struggled with the “fisherman” label for a while, using “fisherpeople” so as not to ignore women who fish. Now I’ve settled on just plain “fishers.” We don’t say “drivermen” and “driverwomen,” just “drivers.”

There’s interesting material on Striped Bass in Wikipedia.

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