When we first moved to San Clemente, we were quite excited about the concept of fishing everyday. All four of us fell in love with the sport two summers ago on the pond of our previous acreage. Some of the hardest things to sell when we left, were our paddle boat and fishing poles.
Well, needless to say, we were quickly put in place, when were learned that fishermen don’t fish from shore OR with fishing poles here. So for us we had to adapt yet again. Now, fishing for us is a spectacular spectator sport. On this morning, the seamen were up before we were and possibly up before the sun. They fish with small motored canoes called Lanchas, and their only chance to bring in the catch is with the ocean tides. For these teams of men rely on each other and the descending tide.
Every time we watch them, our awe never ceases as we admire their strength, bravery, and ingenuity. It is an intriguing sight to watch them hopping over waves in their tiny boats, and pulling in the weight of hundreds to thousands of pounds of fish sometimes twice a day. The rhythm of their work, and precision in their movements mimic the grace and discipline of a professional dancer. You might laugh at these elegant words at first vision, but it doesn’t take long to notice that there is nothing closer to the truth.
The men pace the beach, small teams of 6 to 10 men; for upwards of an hour and sometimes two. The duration largely depends on the weight of the catch and the temperament of the surf.
We watch them carefully, the men and boys of the village working together as young as six and as old as only time can tell. Never do we see just one team, but often 3 or 4 and sometimes as many as 7 or 8 teams stretched out down the beach in the ultimate display camaraderie and community.