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Bernal Heights & Muni Pier

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Posted by Jim Smith on Thursday, October 20, 2005 at 17:53:04 :

In Reply to: San Francisco Favorite Spot posted by Ron Filion on Friday, October 14, 2005 at 16:32:00 :

Bernal Heights???? You bet! As a kid, friends and I used to hike up there with army surplus backpacks loaded with lunch, drinks and whatever. We climbed the rocks, enjoyed the view and flew kites with multiple balls of string.

Muni Pier was beyond hiking distance from the Mission so we loaded our poles, tackle boxes, gunny sacks and a crab net on Muni, got our bus passes punched and headed north. One transfer later we arrived at the Muni Bait Shop on Van Ness where we gawked at all the great gear, photos and mounds of bait. We always bought two bits worth of shrimp and the same in sardines. It was a hike out to the end of Muni Pier but we always did that & then settled onto the inside curve facing Aquatic Park. Of course we had to check out everyone's catch as we progressed.

Sardine heads were tied to the bottom of the crab trap and that was dropped into the bay. Then we baited up and dropped our lines. The first three feet produced shiner perch; small, but tasty. Below that one might pull in any number of larger fish but that was slow going. We took turns trying but usually just caught bullheads. Shiners were easier pickings and bullheads (or croakers) are inedible. We checked the crab net for booty every hour faithfully. We were rarely disappointed.

At day's end we packed up and hiked back to the bus stop chattering about the day's events. One boarded on the bus, we were soon joined by commuters who did a great job of making room for us. I sat next to a drunken bum once (different times, but...) who woke up, exclaimed "sumpin' died!" and stumbled out of his seat. We gave little thought to how we smelled.

Back home I scaled and filleted the fish, boiled the crabs (outside in a fire pit) and Mom put on a feast for us all. Deep fried shiners, boiled crab, fries and French bread. Life was never better.

Note: Not an entry into the contest. Just hadda share!

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