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Natural Perspectives: Little ones inspire trip to the pier

July 13, 2011|By Vic Leipzig and Lou Murray
  • The black-tipped reef shark, photographed at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, is one of many shark species that are caught just for their fins.
The black-tipped reef shark, photographed at the Long… (Lou Murray, HB Independent )

People come from all over the world to visit the Huntington Beach Pier. But Vic and I seldom go there. We live in a vacation paradise, but we get so used to it that we don't take advantage of is as often as we should. That's just one reason why we like to have out-of-town guests. Their visits prod us into enjoying the touristy side of Huntington Beach.

Our guests this past weekend were from pretty close to home. And to our hearts. Our son Scott came up from San Diego with his wife, Nicole, and their three daughters, Allison, Lauren and Megan. We met them for lunch at Sandy's Beach Grill at the foot of the pier.

The 5-year-old twins, Allison and Lauren, ordered off the appetizer menu and had popcorn shrimp and a lobster timbale. They have pretty sophisticated tastes for 5-year-olds. Three-year-old Megan was more interested in the sweet potato fries than anything else. We all greatly enjoyed our meals. After lunch, we went for a leisurely walk on the pier. It was leisurely mostly because Megan and the twins wanted to stop every few yards to examine something new.

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The beach was crowded with surfers, splashers and sunbathers. For me, the bright beach umbrellas and towels made a colorful mélange on the sand. I snapped a couple of photos with my BlackBerry so I could attempt to paint a watercolor of the scene at a later date. For Vic and the others, it was simply the huge number of people crowding the sand that made it an awesome sight.

The little girls were fascinated by the people fishing from the pier. That day, they all seemed to be catching the same species of fish. Slippery, silvery mackerel flashed at the end of one line after another as fishermen flopped their catches onto the pier. The girls jumped up and down and squealed, "Fish, fish" whenever a new one was hooked. Some fishermen had multiple hooks on their lines and were reeling in two and three at a time. It was an amazing sight to see.

I don't know much about pier fishing, but I expanded my knowledge by reading a bit of "Pier Fishing in California: The Complete Coast and Bay Guide to Shore-based Fishing" by Ken Jones. The Huntington Beach Pier has a nice write-up in the book. Jones tells fishermen what bait to use for different fish species and even how and where to cast lines.

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