While in junior high one of my favorite activities was fishing at the end of the Broadway pier in downtown San Diego where we would catch Bonitas and Barracudas (unfortunately those photos are in storage). Some Saturday mornings would find me, my brother and a few neighborhood friends, piling into the taxi of one of my friends’ (Bing if I remember his name correctly) father and being driven down to the piers, especially the Broadway pier) to fish, at 4 o’clock in the morning. At the end of the day, we either took the bus home, with out catch, or my mother would pick us up, but not before we turned in our Bonita for cans of tuna fish at the tuna factory in town. That was when San Diego had a tuna fleet. The San Diego tuna fleet is no longer in existence.
For those of you who live on the Gulf Coast, the Pacific Bonita is a tuna, not the bloody “trash fish” considered by many.
One of my favorite memories of fishing on Broadway pier was the day a yellow barge was tied up to the pier. As we approached the barge we could see there was no one on it so I and my friends jumped on board and settled down on the port side with our feet dangling over the edge. We figured being further from the pier we might have better luck catching something decent. Well after about an hour and not even a nibble, I got bored and started to wander about the barge. I came upon an open hole and peered down to find it filled with water. I continued to explore until I came across a control panel.
I don’t think I have to tell you what happened next. “Hmm. I wonder what this button does”. So I pushed it – oops, wrong move. It started up some sort of machinery. I pushed another button trying to turn it off. But all I did was succeed in turning on more machinery. Oh my God, we need to get out of here before something drastic really happens. Who knows, did I start up some sort of propulsion system and we would break away from our mooring with us on it. We didn’t hang around to find out. I ran to my friends screaming at them to gather up our gear and make a break for it. You want to see a couple of my friends and me “tear” down the Broadway pier as if we were being chased by a ghost – well that was us. We made it home via the bus and never told our parents what happened. And we never heard on the news about an incident of a barge maybe breaking loose from its moorings at the Broadway pier.