Having fished for most of the past 60 years, I know that fishermen are a superstitious lot, but I am not one of them since I don’t believe that fishing has anything to do with luck. So, I don’t go through any particular ritual before I fish or when I am fishing. I also do not believe in fishing “spots” in any body of water. If the fish are out there, they can and will swim where ever they want. However, when the flags are furled on the Ventura Pier, you may as well go home.
Today was such a day and I almost think that all the other regulars on the pier agree. Usually when I arrive there around 7 AM, there are already a dozen or so anglers ahead of me. Today, there was only one. And all the American flags were furled like the one in the picture above.
The reason I think that furled flags affect fishing on the pier has nothing to do with luck. It has more to do with which side of the pier you have to fish on. If the flags are furled, that means that the wind is blowing to the west and on the west side of a pier is bay, a very large one, but a bay nonetheless. If the wind is blowing to the east, there is mostly open water as far as the eye can see. This does not affect my Wishing Pole since that is baited, weighted, and on the bottom of the ocean, however, it can play havoc with my drift line. Fishing into the wind is always challenging using this method since your line is blown back to the pier when facing east, since you constantly have to check it to make sure it doesn’t drift into the pilings. So, I usually end up fishing on the bay side of the pier.
I am not implying that fish are claustrophobic, maybe it just appears that way. Fish want to be free to roam, the larger the body of water the better. In this case, they may be just avoiding human contact. There is a large children’s playground on the west side of the pier which always attracts crowds of families and swimmers. Surfer’s Point, a well known and well used surfing location is also on the west side.
Whether my observation here is scientific, realistic, or just so much Kentucky windage, I don’t know but despite the weather conditions today, I stayed and fished hoping the wind would turn, which it did. While facing the bay side of the pier, I caught one Mackerel. When facing the ocean side of the pier, I caught three Mackerel. It was a slow day, but I think this was only due to the way the flags were furled for the first few hours.