|The blare of the band was missing, the Governor didn’t cut a golden cord, loudspeaker systems didn’t blare out the impressive speeches of the great and near-great, but the opening of the Berkeley Pier to fishing at 5 a.m. yesterday morning was a momentous event,
Three and a half miles of available fishing space was the gift of the city to the boys and girls—from six to 90 years old.
Permission to fish on the abandoned pier, Saturday and Sunday, was granted as an experiment. If patronage follows and the test proves popular, it may soon be opened every day of the week.
City collectors gathered 15 cents a person, a charge necessary, explains Berkeley City Manager Hollis R. Thompson, because there will be operation and upkeep expenses that will have to be met from the revenue earned.
OLD S. P. PIER
The pier was acquired recently by the City of Berkeley when the Southern Pacific Golden Gate Ferries Company discontinued their Berkeley-San Francisco service.
Opening of the pier to fishing has been sought for some time by the San Pablo Sportsman’s Club and other civic groups. It supplies a long-felt want, as previously there had been no pier on the Oakland side of the bay where children and grown-ups who do not care for boats and distant shores, could spend a day outdoors.
It will mean much to the youth of the entire Metropolitan Oakland area, reviving the days most of us can remember, when we rushed down to one of the piers of the time, or sneaked past the guards to fish on the Southern Pacific ferry pier at the foot of Seventh Street, as soon as we could change clothes after school.
Lee Anderson, faithful “operative,” bait store operator and one of the most consistent fishermen I have ever known, expresses all that when he writes:
“It is a great thing. There will be Berkeley officers on duty and the full three and a half miles can be utilized. The Saturday and Sunday opening rule is temporary. There are quite a few problems to work out for the city, and it will take a little time to settle difficulties.
“This pier is something we have needed for a long time. There is not a fishing pier on our side of the bay for miles and miles. During the Winter just past we didn’t have a place to drop our nets when the herring run was on. The people will come for miles around and from other cities to enjoy such a spot.
“During the Summer this will be a good place to keep the children off the streets, and at the same time start the young boys (and girls too) enjoying a good, clean, wholesome sport.
GREAT FOR YOUTHS
“”I am visualizing now all the good fishing to be had at this place, as in the old days. One may go with trolley outfits and catch smelt by the sack full. Bass fishermen may cast from the pier and for the child or grown-up with a 15-cent drop-line there are pogies, smelt, perch, shiners, and occasional rock cod and even crab fishing. It is a wonderful place to catch and net herring in the first part of the year, and the anchovy runs are good.
“At present the boats are having a good run of striped bass up and down the full length of the wharf. Personally I am anxious to walk up and down the wharf with a Calcutta rod to try trolling in that way.
“When I was going to school I used to hike down to the old Berkeley wharf (long since burned down for the present pier) and sell worms for 10 cents a dozen. I would then use the money to buy tackle and fish every minute possible. It looks like those old days will be revived again, only on a different scale.”
And there is a short, short story of the growth of a merchant. From that humble beginning, selling worms at the pier to get money for fishing tackle, Lee has developed his present large bait and tackle store, and he still sells his bait for money to buy tackle, for more often than not he will be found absent from the store—out fishing for the day.
It will be but a short time until the Berkeley Pier will be more extensively used by the children and their parents than by the real striped bass fishermen.
When the Municipal Pier was opened in San Francisco many of the officials expected it would be overcrowded with the bass fishermen casting sinkers and sardines, while the children looked on.
That actually was the case for a short time, but for some time now bass fishermen have been missing and the children and their parents have owned it.
Of course there will be a longer season on striped bass off the Berkeley Pier. It is in better fishing territory. Many fine catches will be made in the coming months.
But it will be the children who will benefit the most, for a good lively shiner on the end of a cord is a much bigger catch to a 10-year-old than a 10-pound bass to one of we jaded oldsters.
—Bob Dwyer’s Line On The Sportsman,
Oakland Tribune, June 12, 1938
Last weekend great throngs invaded the newly opened Berkeley pier, without any advertising being done in advance. There has been plenty of space given this week to the fine catches of striped bass and other fish that were being made this past weekend so the crowds should be double this Saturday and Sunday.
The pier opens at 5 a.m. Saturday and is open until Sunday night. There is a 15-cent charge for fishing, and no one need worry about having to fight the crowd. With 2500 on the pier last Sunday there was no evidence of overcrowding on the three and a half miles of fishing space. Using both sides of the pier, this allows more than seven miles of elbowroom… so 5000 will not overcrowd this present pier.
—A Line on The Sportsman, Bob Dwyer,
Oakland Tribune, June 17, 1938
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