Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fishing off Los Angeles Wharves in 1907

Here's what anglers were catching off fishing piers in the area in August, 1907 (and I doubt that mercury levels were a concern):

In Redondo Beach:

"After several weeks of catches of mackerel, small fry, occasional yellowtail and halibut, Redondo boasts the latest sensation in catching barracuda from a wharf...Half a hundred fine fish were taken.

"A school of sardines and a number of small mackerel were playing about the wharf when a school of barracuda rushed up, snapping hooked fish from the leaders and playing havoc with tackle generally. The barracuda turned back and continued their depredations. Jig lines and jigs soon were in operation, and fresh bait was at a premium. One after another the barracuda came streaming up to the wharf. It was literaly (sic) wriggling with them."

The above picture, btw, is of Redondo's Wharf #1 in 1908. Brazenly copied from the library resource page of

Further north:

"Anglers casting from the beach between Del Rey and Manhattan have made some good catches of corbina, but the yellowfins seem rather scarce for the season, and fishers are at a loss to account for it. As a rule, they are very plentiful during this month and September."

In Venice, a ten-and-a-half pound croaker was caught, with the help of the wharf policeman!

Points South:

In San Pedro, croakers are reported, and "the trolling outside from Point Fermin to Portuguese Bend is improving steadily, and yellowtail are striking the spoons better every day."

"Long Beach is infected with what Sherman Baker calls 'critters'." Turned out to be stingrays.

In Balboa, "J. Frank Jones ... hooked a good-sized sea trout, and was playing him when along came a big yellowtail and engulfed trout, tackle and all at one fell swoop."

At the mouth of Newport Bay, "Bass are biting well in the bay, and a few goodly strings of croakers are on record ... Some big corbina are caught every Sunday from the Del Mar wharf."

"The trolling off Newport, Laguna, and Arch Beach is excellent just now, and plenty of fist are being caught."

Don't know too much about fishing, but croakers and corbinas are in the same family. This picture of a California corbina is from Wiki.


Fern @ Life on the Balcony said...

It's probably not safe to assume that mercury poisoning wasn't an issue in 1907. While we all like to "remember" a time long ago when things were simple and the water and air were sweet and unpolluted, the industrial revolution in the U.S. was one of the worst periods of pollution. In some cases, worse than today. Some scientists posit that waterways have been poisoned with mercury since 1400 BCE when humans first started mining mercury (it was a popular source of red pigment commonly used by indigenous people).

Vix said...

Thanks for your comment and the fascinating article, dealing with the Andes region. Given that the big boom in Los Angeles area industry was more in the middle of the 20th century, I would still guess that fish caught off shore in the early 1900s would have less mercury than today. Wonder if any studies can be done, a hundred years later?

Anonymous said...

What a great web log. I spend hours on the net reading blogs, about tons of various subjects. I have to first of all give praise to whoever created your theme and second of all to you for writing what i can only describe as an fabulous article. I honestly believe there is a skill to writing articles that only very few posses and honestly you got it. The combining of demonstrative and upper-class content is by all odds super rare with the astronomic amount of blogs on the cyberspace.