While returning into harbor this last weekend I noticed one of our local fisherman and thought it would make for a good story. With this in mind, I called one of my old school friends Tom Pearson of Pearson Port located at 100 E. Coast Highway phone (949) 675-6771. Tom and I really did go to school together in Huntington Beach while Tom’s father Roy opened up Pearson Port in 1971. Pearson’s Port, in my opinion, is our harbors best fish market and holds the spirit of a true American family business going on its third generation.
I do not know of anyone else who has spent more time on the water then Tom Pearson. If my simple calculations are correct he has spent 10,500 days on the water over the last 40 years. When I asked how many local fisherman we have in the harbor he replied “There are about 20 of us, the commercial industry is a close niche family. We have the occasional “Buoy Fisherman”, which is slang for noob, that needs to reminded of the rules from time to time. But you would be surprised on how close we all are”. I never noticed many local commercial fisherman at the yacht club bar, so I was wondering if this group ever gathered anywhere in town? “Most of the time we are on the water 5 days a week from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM and we still need to make time to maintain our equipment and boats. So, I’d have to say our meeting place is on the fishing grounds” When I asked Tom what VHF radio channel he and the local fisherman used, our signal kind of broke up and I really did not get a clear answer. “Most of the time I have the stereo on and don’t talk to anyone else. I will let my buddies know, in the day boats, if I see any whales or dolphins. As a whole we all try to help each other out”.
Aboard his boat “Harvest” a 26’ Radon he fishes for Lobster, Crab, Shrimp and whatever else his reels can catch. He has 250 traps and this year he was very lucky only losing about 15 traps. “ I was very fortunate this year, I lost about 30 pieces and recovered about 15 them by diving for them, or they wash up on the beach and the Lifeguards would return them, other boaters will bring them by the harbor department or even bring them by the market” explained Tom. Each piece is worth about $100.00 and he still recalls the storms of 1983 when he lost all of his gear. I then asked him what is the strangest thing you ever caught? “ I have brought up some pretty strange stuff but the “Wolf eels” are still at the top of my list” Next I asked him if he had superstitions like if he had a good day does he wear the same clothes the next day? “ No, he replied. I just say a short prayer before the start of everyday. What type of weather keeps you from fishing? “The wind and swell, I am to old to snorkel anymore. (Which means the waves are coming over the pilothouse and he needs a mask and snorkel just to work on deck) If the wind reaches about 30 Knots and the swell is steep I just do not have to do that any longer. Is it a good life I asked? Yes! It’s a good life and its still exciting. Tom replied. How does the future look? “Funny you should ask that Len, we have a major obstacle in front of us now with the Marine Life Protection Act or (MLPA) with the South Coast region going into effect on January 1st 2012. This law is really going to bunch us up and put a lot of us out of business.” This is not really fresh news but if you forgot about this subject make sure you check out www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/ before January 1st 2012.
Persons Port is old Newport, its like going to Basin Shipyard and meeting the New family, going to Island Marine fuel and meeting the Beeks or the Hills at their fuel dock. Be a good American and check out Pearson’s Port, meet the Pearson Family, tell your friends about it and support our local fisherman.