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Home / Fishing / Articles

ArticlesFeatured Columnist : Georges Corner

Jed Welsh -  Old Avalon Story
By: George Van Zant

Other Jed Welsh Stories - Tobakeyed Breath | Catalina 1910  
  Legend of Jed Welsh |  Old Avalon Story 

As a kid Jed spent most of his waking hours looking for anything to do with fishing. In old Avalon this presented plenty of opportunities for a 10 year old. The Avalon kids fished off the rocks, off the local pier and from skiffs, They caught button perch, (opaleye) blue perch (halfmoon) and those pesky insistent marauders, calico bass.

Jed had access to the family skiff and enjoyed many fishing trips to the surrounding forests of kelp beds that grew profusely along the shore. The main restriction set down by Dad was that he shouldnąt ever row the skiff out away from the protection of the shoreline cliffs. After all he could be caught in a rogue wind and blown away and never heard of again. Of course Jed never paid any attention to this rule. He had a secret fishing spot for sand dabs that only he knew about and it was his pride and joy. But it was at least a mile off the "Slide" in 250 feet of water. In an hours time he could fill up the skiff with "dabs" and be back to dock before anyone suspected where he was. But all his buddies or anybody on the dock knew what he was up to because he sold the "dabs" for a nickel apiece to the visiting tourists or any of the locals that wanted to buy them. Everybody knew you couldnąt catch sand dabs close to shore, which finally got him in trouble.

Jed always knew he would be caught and indeed he was. His father then banned him from the skiff for a whole month and poor Jed had to find another fishing activity' he did! One day he was strolling along Pebbly Beach looking for trouble when he saw a massive "meatball" of crazy acting anchovies all balled up thrashing around on top of each other. The water was
only 2 feet deep and surrounding the "chovies" was a group of giant white sea bass. Many of the anchovies were jumping out of the water onto the shore trying to escape the whites. Jed never left home without his fishing rod. So he picked up a floundering anchovy and hooked it in the nose and threw it flylined into the confusion where a 50 pound sea bass picked it up and and freight trained out to sea spooling his meager reel in an instant. Jed was "wild eyed" but knew he couldnąt always find shoreline anchovies so he came up with a lure that he could instantly throw at breaking fish from the shore. Jed caught every kind of the local "big ones" with his new invention. He caught barracuda, large calicos, yellowtail, white sea bass and once a small bluefin tuna.

His invention was pretty simple. He cut up his mothers broom handle into four inch lengths and carved them into the shape of an anchovy. He screwed into each end of the plug a wood screw eye and placed a treble hook on one of the eyes and into the other end he tied on his line. He painted the plugs anchovy blue, black and purple. He strolled the along all the beaches in the area and when he saw boiling fish he lofted the plug into the middle of the
confusion and instantly hooked up. Yes, it wasnąt long before every kid in Avalon was constructing plugs.

It was a time when Avalon got a little dusty since there wasnąt a broom left in town. 


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