Slap Hitter: The San Francisco Chronicle's Fish Rap

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All the days on the pier at Pacifica, sitting out there, standing out there, fishing and just often enough catching, and that one day when the guy taking up space at the rail notch next to me said I was a bum. And sure, I've been proud at times, but never that proud. So begins one of the few remaining pleasures in taking the daily paper, it is The Fishing Report, published weekly in the Chron, and the copy only gets nuttier.

The writer's name is Brian Hoffman, and every Thursday, the sort of prose poems to angling get printed on the back of the sports page in about 8-point type. From the same piece, Or the white-haired midget who sometimes walked out on the pier, looking into every fisherman's bucket and making some kind of observation about the perch or crab or bullheads or whatever else might have been in there, looking it over, grinning plenty, and saying, "I'm a nice guy, right?"

You get the feeling that nobody at Chron editorial headquarters does much reading beyond the loopy opening sermons, because then the type gets even smaller as Hoffman then describes, sort of, what the fishing conditions are like throughout the region, at least I imagine that's his assignment. Somewhere later in this Thursday's review, came this account of, well it's hard to say, Or rise again, son, and just walk and cast at the Hamilton Branch, where the same-named creek cascades into the lake and the trout are stacked below, nosing against the oxygen- and bug-rich churn and flow.

Go through the archives and you'll find more ruminations, muttered asides and fractured metaphors. As Hoffman wrote on August 6th, From there it's green water until it becomes blue, in the way you dream of albacore and those miles far from shore. Boats fished the weekend, because a calm sea demanded it, and maybe the sea laughed some, too,. I rarely know what the hell he's talking about, don't have a clue who the man is, but don't want to break the spell by digging deeper. I'll just leave you with a dash more of Hoffman, unsure whether it's profound or pointless. It eventually arrived where it needed to be, is what the captain would say about it, and Saturday, with a charter, the boat did fish and did catch bass, halibut and a mighty break. Kibby Kleiman