July 05, 2013
NEWPORT, Calif. -- The first time many fishermen see sculpin, they immediately want to touch and examine the brightly colored and odd-looking creature.
Yet that's the last thing anyone would want to do to the only fish that is known to produce adrenaline. The intriguing fish, which doesn't have a powerful bite, can prick anything or anyone with its poisonous spines, causing a severe reaction.
It doesn't keep loads of fishermen in Southern California from targeting it's meat.
After launching from Newport Harbor, the Western Pride motored nearly two hours offshore. The 80-foot boat is just one of the four in the Davy Jones Locker fleet, which takes out loads of fishermen daily for a reasonable price.
The two-deck boat was filled with 66 people, who dropped their lines with heavy weights, sinking 150 feet below the surface. Before anything started biting, the wind gently swept over the boat, as the Pacific calmly swayed the passengers back and forth and the mountains of California's coast peaked through the fog near the horizon.
Suddenly, the commotion started with the bite of the day, which was also the bite of plenty -- scuplin. Early on, many fishermen remarked that when the fish did strike the line, it wasn't noticeable. Only a slight tug at the line, which didn't register as a bite to many.
The collective group of fishermen then began furiously reeling anytime they felt a tug. Some reeled in sculpin, others sanddabs, and others the lines of other fishermen.The end tally of the day was over 200 sculpin, 30 sanddabs, 1 red snapper and 2 split tail perch.
And there was only one casualty of being stabbed by the sculpin's poisonous spine, which causes severe swelling and burning, but it was handled smoothly. Returning back to the harbor through the heavy fog, the atmosphere among the fishermen was incredibly pleasant. The trip was cheap and provided good eats. And that's all any fisherman could ask for.
Click image to see the Sculpin Spectacle photo gallery