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XIX 

THE SEA FISH OF CALIFORNIA

XIPIAS GLADIUS is a class alone
And the only swordfish that is known,
Yet Ďtis Avalonís most dear wish
To confound him with the Spearfish.
It seems an insult to the Creator
As well as to the nomenclator. 

His snout is flat just like a sword,
His dorsal fin stiff as a board;
Strong pectoral fins give him the power
To fight the fisherman hour by hour;
Though gaffed he is not yours as hoped
Until his tail is safely roped. 

The Spearfish, gamest of the game,
Has also Marlin for a name,
His snout is round just like a spike,
His stripes are purple, all alike;
Beautiful in the sea is he,
As graceful as a fish can be. 

When once hooked he jumps about,
Shakes his head and waves his snout;
He dances hornpipes on his tail,
And leaves the seafoam as his trail.
A jumper, fighter strong is he,
The king of game-fish of the sea. 

The Tuna is a learned fish,
For schooling seems his fondest wish.
The Yellow-fin calls Japan his home,
The Blue-back in all seas does roam.
You can always tell them by their fins,
And as for speed, the blue one wins. 

There was a time when they were bold,
And they would strike and take a hold
Of any bait that was trolled along,
But now they sing a different song;
The bait to a kite-string tied must he
And skimmed along the tumbling sea. 

Of different sizes and by the score
You see great schools of Albacore;
The Japs entice them with live bait
And hunt them early morn and late.
These fish are promptly cooked and canned
And
shipped away throughout the land. 

The Barracoutas of the Pacific
Are fishes that are quite specific.
They donít resemble in the least
Their so-called namesake in the East;
The Atlantic fish of the same name
Is somewhat larger and far more game. 

The Yellowtail and the Rockbass
Are found near kelp and long seagrass;
The kelp to them is house and shelter
Where they retire, a-helter-skelter,
When chased by larger fish and Shark,
For there itís safe and cool and dark. 

The Whitebass in the spring comes round,
At other times he is not found.
He fights upon the surface best,
Is full of life and full of zest;
In the south he is of great size  
And to a trolling bait will rise. 

The Giant Bass is no Hebrew,
But is oft confounded with the Jew.
One can always tell him by his scales,
And Jewfish have round fins and tails.
They both do grow to a great sizeó
The fins and tails will put you wise. 

In the wide ocean called Pacific,
The Salmon tribe is so prolific
That they provide the State with mammon
That would be lost without the Salmon.
Tyee, Sockeye, Humpback, and Coho
Are of the family of Salmo. 

The Sharks of many kinds do swarm
In the blue water that is so warm.
They swim along and show their fins,
Looking for trouble and full of sins;
They are the scavengers of the sea
And deserve no mercy from you or me.

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