Remember Lucy?

Ken Jones

Staff member
One year I asked board members to supply short autobiographies for a book. Lucy was one and finally obliged after some prompting. Unfortunately I only met Lucy once, at the 1st Mud Marlin Derby, where she would have been frozen if one of the PFIC regulars hadn't brought her a space age cloth of some kind to keep her warm (and it was REAL COLD).

A PFIC member for years (and still out there), she is a member of the "PFIC Hall of Fame," a group I have the luxury of choosing.

Date: May 4, 2002
To: PFIC Message Board
From: Ken Jones

Subject: We want YOUR autobiographies...

Rich, Pierhead, Sinker, Joromaca, Boomer, JimboJack, Gyozadude, Castlebravo, RoosterQueen, Josh, Lucy, Ron Crandell

Who did I miss?

Posted by Lucy

Well, if you insist . . .

Screen Name: lucy

Real Name: Madonna. No, wait, that's wrong—this week I'm Cindy Crawford. No, wait, I misplaced my mole, so I have to be somebody else until I find it. (Note to self: fire personal assistant and hire one who can keep track of that damn mole.)

Personal Information/Occupation: Ask my P.R. agent. Oh, wait—forget that, I fired him because he misplaced one of my limousines. Ask my biographer. No, leave her alone, she’s busy writing my bio. Or she’d BETTER be. Oh, hell, just make something up; that’s what everybody ELSE does. (Note to self: tell lawyer to sue the National Enquirer, again. Also hire hit man to “take care” of big-mouthed former high-school classmate for telling all those LIES.)

Seriously, though, I haven't been fishing long enough on a more-or-less regular basis to have much of interest to say. Aside from a little fishing during childhood, I've only been fishing a couple of years, and most of that has been confined to places I can travel to easily and quickly by public transit—i.e., the north shore of San Francisco (Fort Point, Crissy Field, Yacht Harbor Jetty, Muni Pier.) I've grown pretty bored with those (and pretty tired of the delay and inconvenience of public transit), so I'm saving up to buy a vehicle.

As for a favorite pier, I don't have one yet, nor do I have any “memorable” pier fishing experiences to share. Same goes for favorite fish—I haven't caught enough different kinds yet to be able to say.

Words of wisdom? Well, considering my comparative lack of experience, I'm not exactly a font of fishing knowledge, but here goes: First, buy a car BEFORE you take up fishing; you’ll save yourself an immense amount of wasted time, annoyance, and frustration. Second, study and learn everything you can, but don’t try to do it all at once or you'll go nuts. Focus on one thing at a time. Finally, use the Internet—there's an IMMENSE amount of information available, and it's free—all you have to do is look for it.

Posted by Pierhead

Why so modest? Certainly someone who could manage over 1,200 posts to the board has something to say! I can understand your reasons for not sharing personal info but as one of the few women on the board who actively post your reasons for taking up fishing (and your initial experiences and reactions) would be of considerable interest to the rest of us. And it might encourage more women to begin posting as well. Please reconsider. PierHead

Posted by Songslinger

Which means you probably know more about Fort Point, Crissy Field, Yacht Harbor Jetty, Muni Pier than 99% of us. That's vital knowledge. I can understand demurring from personal information, though. I'm always worried people are going to show up at my door and borrow money.

Posted by Lucy

Modest? MODEST??? Wah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha

No, I’m not at all modest, just a smart-ass. Since my own life isn’t all that intriguing, I thought I'd try to toss some humor in there. As for number of posted messages, that doesn't mean diddly, except that I probably spend more time reading and posting on this board than I spend fishing. But if you really want the dull details, here goes:

I live and work in San Francisco. Occupation is officially “document processing,” but what that usually means is fixing other people's documents after they've screwed them up so badly that nothing works. Other things I've done include tending bar, managing an apartment building, and selling encyclopedias door-to-door—or maybe I should say, NOT-selling encyclopedias. As a salesman, I was an abysmal flop. Actually, I like my present job, and so when I hear somebody say that “The worst day fishing is still better than the best day working,” I can't agree—I'd much rather be sitting in a nice warm office, surfing the internet or even working, than freezing my buns off on a pier while catching nothing but hypothermia. I'm NOT one of these die-hard types who can spend six or seven hours suffering serious physical discomfort while getting skunked and still manage to talk themselves into believing they had a good time.

I have three cats and a boa constrictor, and more hobbies and interests than I have enough time for. In fact, I haven't been fishing much lately because I’ve been busy with other stuff—some of it other hobbies, but most of it long-neglected chores that got put off in favor of fishing—like trying to clean out that hell-hole of junk that's SUPPOSED to be a walk-in closet. “Walk-in,” HAH! It's more like, put on a hard hat, assume a defensive posture, and open the door V-E-R-Y slowly. I spend a lot of time looking up stuff, both fishing-related and otherwise, on the Internet. Some of the things I've done or at least dabbled in: origami, carving soapstone, woodworking (I built the cabinet in which the boa constrictor resides), sewing (not my favorite, but I CAN do it if I have to), and leather work (which somehow doesn’t qualify as ”sewing” in my mind, even though it involves sewing). I even once taught myself to crochet, concluded that it was way tedious, and that was the end of THAT.

On the topic of fishing as it relates specifically to women—I think one reason there are so few women who fish is that for many years, fishing was largely regarded as a “male” activity, like hunting, and most of the men who fished would take their sons fishing but not their daughters. That’s changing, and one of the things I like about this board is seeing the number of fathers who take their daughters fishing, or plan to when the daughters are old enough. There'll certainly be less of a male-female imbalance among anglers in the future.

Another thing is that many areas are decidedly woman-UNfriendly because of the lack of restrooms. A man can unzip and take a whizz anywhere where there’s a bit of concealment (and I've seen a number of them who didn't even bother to try to conceal what they were doing), but a woman can’t. Consider Muni Pier, for instance—there are restrooms, BUT they’re only open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., which is totally stupid in view of the fact that the pier is open 24 hours a day and the area is heavily visited by tourists and sight-seers well into the evening. There’s a Port-O-San halfway out on the pier, but it's so utterly vile that you'd have to be in the worst of dire straits to be willing to use it—and frankly, I think I’d rather climb up the hill, go into the bushes, and run the risk of encountering a skunk! In many places of course, there are no “facilities” at all, and if there aren't any handy bushes around, a woman is just out of luck. Anatomy may not be destiny, but it can certainly be irksome!

Another thing too is that women are much more worried than men about being victims of crime, and considering that one out of every four women is raped, and many more are subjected to lesser but still frightening assaults, their worry is justified. A man may feel perfectly safe going to the beach alone at night to fish—but a woman wouldn’t, not unless she was six feet tall and a black belt in kung fu and had a couple of loaded Uzis with her—and even then, she'd probably be looking over her shoulder so much that she’d get whiplash.

On the other hand, I think too many women are fearful when they don't really need to be, and allow their fear of what “could” happen to limit them too much. Yes, you MIGHT run into trouble fishing on the shore at night—but you could just as easily run into trouble anywhere else. I may be lucky, but so far, I haven't had ANY seriously unpleasant run-ins with anybody while fishing, and certainly none that involved violence or even a fear of violence. The worst I've run into so far is the occasional bore who comes up and starts giving me all kinds of unasked-for advice and telling me about all the fish he claims he caught last week or last month or whenever.

Now, as for being all that knowledgeable about Fort Point, Crissy Field, etc., I don’t think I am. Hell, Striperkiller, who has been fishing those areas for years, knows FAR more about them than I do, so he'd be the one to ask. For about the first year I fished around here, I didn't really know what I was doing, didn’t know much about tides or currents or what fish to fish for when, etc. I'm somewhat more knowledgeable now, but a long way from being any kind of expert. Ask me again ten years from now, and then I might be more qualified! There.

Posted by pescare

Very Cool.

Posted by Sinker

Well now Lucy”

Smart-ass—I think not, good since of humor I'd say and at times a bit of center, but good none the less.

Fully agree with your remarks about the number of posts.

As for jobs—mine is a long list of good to bad. The one I have now allows me to be with my daughter and time to fish—I am a lucky man.

Facilities on piers are lacking, for women and men alike. True men can just unzip, however this is not appropriate or right in my eyes. The restrooms on my local pier close before the restaurant does—go figure. As a gentleman, I have on a number of occasions walked with women to a secluded spot, turned my back and let them take care of business, then returned them safely to the pier to continue fishing.

I would gladly escort you to the pier and back home but alas I do not live in your area. I am not a pervert (I don’t think), would not try anything. Now I am not a big guy so am not intimidating to others, although I have been told my looks could scare them away (I don’t think they meant that in a good way either) however due to past experiences and jobs I am capable of taking care of myself.

I too feel I know very little about fishing, in fact when you started talking about tides and what fish to target I realized your knowledge is superior to my own. We can all learn something from most anybody. I feel as though my bio has no place being with most of these others as I am far from their level. Hell if I got time, I throw in some bait and hope for the best and that is about it.

Then again I have never met you. You could be a psysco woman who would let me walk you out to a secluded spot and then cut off my head or something gruesome like that. Hope you’re not. “Get Bent” — “Sinker”

Posted by PierHead

Good stuff! I knew your autobiography would be interesting—you have a work background as varied as my own. And as for sales I too was a dud. Nothing like having a customer service job (billing inquiries for the telephone company) turn into a hard sales hit on every caller. I just couldn't do that and was secretly proud that I was always the low salesperson for the month! Got out of there just ahead of the dreaded ‘pink slip.’ But not before carpal tunnel caught up with me—word of advice: Take ergonomics seriously—I can't play my guitar anymore even after the surgery.

As for roughing it—I've been there and done that. No need to prove anything anymore :) All I look for is a bench and a railing—out of the wind! If there are fish and people to talk to so much the better!

I just went out into the backyard to discover that what once was a respectable lawn and vegetable garden has been replaced by a veritable jungle—time to rein in the fishing and take care of the yard work. I can’t believe I let it go like that!

Looking forward to seeing you at the Mud Marlin Derby! Maybe all of us novices can sit together so we won't feel so intimidated—hehe! PierHead

Ken Jones

Staff member
This picture from the 2002 Mud Marlin Derby shows the only time I ever actually got to meet Lucy —


Her report of the derby —

Date: May 12, 2002
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: lucy
Subject: Mud Marlin Derby — a great time (LONG!)

What a fun evening! I arrived a few minutes before 7:00 p.m. During the course of the evening, I fished off both sides of the pier, and tried squid, anchovies, and sardines (the last two supplied by the People's Bait Co.), and caught not so much as a nibble. However, I got to see a number of bat-rays (a first for me) and even got to “man” the crab net to assist Songslinger in hauling up one of the rays he caught. (This wasn't much of a feat, mind you, since the ray was a little 8-pounder.)

For those who aren't familiar with the pier, it's a good 3,000 feet long, maybe a little more than that (according to my navigation chart of the bay). That's over TEN football-fields long! The original pier was made of wood and was much longer, extending approximately 13,500 feet into the bay. The ruins of the old pier are still there, and between the end of the new pier and the ruins of the old one is a fairly narrow passageway for boats to get through, so that they don't have to go clear around the end of the ruins. Across the end of the new pier is a wooden barricade about ten feet high. People call this a "windbreak," but it's not; it's actually just a barrier to prevent people casting lines into the boat passageway. (A real windbreak wouldn't have two- to three-inch gaps between the boards!) What's all that got to do with anything? Well, at one point, Redfish, who was fishing on the south side of the pier next to the barrier, hooked a ray. The ray didn't want to be caught, so it headed north, around the end of the pier—which meant that Redfish either had to break it off or climb up ONTO the barricade. Being both determined and very agile, he did the latter—and then Stinkyfingers and Scooterfish climbed up there too, with a crab net! For several minutes, they struggled to try to land the ray from the TOP of the barricade, while the rest of us stood there in awe of their bravery and hoped none of them would fall into the drink. Finally, they were able to work the ray around the end of the pier and land it from the north side. I really WISH I'd had a video-camera—that was a hell of a show! I did get some pictures and will post them when I get them developed.

It was a fairly clear evening, and so we had an excellent view of the fireworks show, impeded only slightly by Yerba Buena Island. The weather had been nice and warm during the day, but it started to chill down in late afternoon, and by the time the derby started, it was chilly and windy. As the evening went on, it got chillier and chillier, and there was ALWAYS wind—sometimes strong, sometimes dropping to a mild (but cold) breeze, but always there. Wind, wind, wind! The people from So-Cal found out what I was talking about when I posted that warning! Fortunately, they had heeded it and were well prepared with plenty of layers. At one point, I dug out the Space Blanket I'd brought along and sat down on the pier huddled up in it to try to get warm—and wonder of wonders, it actually works as advertised! The blanket totally blocks the wind, and the Mylar lining reflects your body heat back to you, so that you can actually get warm even though you're already chilled AND are sitting in the wind.

Now, a big hats-off and thank-you to BigRich. He bought plastic tarps and tied them over the barricade, so that it actually served as a windbreak. He also brought a barbecue grill, water for coffee or hot chocolate, and hot links, and he spent much of the evening cooking hot links and brewing fresh coffee. Thanks to him, people could get out of the wind, warm their hands over the barbecue, refuel themselves with a spicy hot link, and revive their energies with a cup of coffee. His efforts and thoughtfulness were much appreciated, so THANK YOU, BIGRICH!!!!!

Also, a big thank-you to PierHead and Sinker, who brought a whopping supply of their “People's Bait” and provided anyone who wanted it with salted anchovies and sardines. By the way, that pier cart they've got is something else—and of course, I stupidly forgot to take a picture of it.

Also, a thank-you to Baitfish (Adam), who really does have a singular talent for untangling bird's-nests. Right at the end, I had given up on catching anything and was just casting for practice. I hadn't had a bird's nest all evening, but finally I got one. I struggled with it for a while, with no success, and then Baitfish came over and offered to help. It was amazing: he pulled a bit here, tugged a bit there, and presto! I told him he should give lessons!

Also, a thank-you to Gyozadude, who gave me a ride home, and another thank-you to each of those who offered to do so.

Finally, a BIG thank-you and a standing ovation to Nufo, for coming up with a great idea and turning it into a reality, and to those who helped him with the process. It was a smashing good job! And of course, another BIG thank-you to Ken Jones, for obvious reasons!

We hear so much about all the bad people in the world—the criminals, the crooks, the dishonest politicians (is there any other kind?), the greedy, the scumbags and wretches who make it their life's work to cause problems for others—that it's easy to forget that there are many, many GOOD people in the world. Get-togethers like this one are a great reminder of that fact. One example: Wild Moose, who had read my message about my Wednesday evening casting practice, when the wind came up and my hands got cold, actually brought a pair of gloves to give to me in case I didn't have any! Can you believe that? I was just floored.

A great group of people, a great evening, and I'm SO glad I went! I'm going to shut up now, before this turns into a book!