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California Dreamin: Fishing along the scenic L.A. River all its cracked up to be
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I’m allergic to the sun. If I’m in it too long, it burns me.

This was on my mind as I contemplated fly-fishing on my way home from a weekend in Oceanside.

That hot, mean orb had already attacked me when I sat on the beach for that hour without lotion the day before. So when I stopped off at the biggest gutter I have ever seen to check out the steelhead run, I immediately applied copious amounts of SPF 900.

It was actually SPF 45, and the gutter was actually the L.A. River.

I parked behind a business with a name I could not pronounce and rigged up, not particularly concerned about the fact I probably looked as though I was a guy preparing to accost locals with a flimsy 8-foot spear.

I looked for a way to get to the river but had to walk a good 50 feet to a hole in the barbed wire. Before I poked through, I heard a voice.

“Hey mister, whuchu doin’?”

“Goin’ fishin’,” I responded proudly.

He stared at me with half confusion. If I jack this dude in broad daylight and take his flimsy spear with the funny reel back to my buddies, I’ll get serious street cred.

“You see how the river naturally carved its way through the cement that was formed in the early Neoplastijurassiacious Period?”

He ran.

I side stepped through the wire and angled my way down toward the river which was a little low, but had to be teeming with its annual run of steelhead. I spotted a pool that looked like a perfect spot to catch lunch.

About halfway down the embankment I saw in all of its splendor: The green tea with a splash of pineapple juice colored water. It flowed gracefully over pebbles, rocks, a shopping cart and ... a 1998 Geo Metro?
As I worked my way close to the shore, I felt a warm, thick waft of left out sharp cheese, off-brand baked beans and bubble gum filled air, coat my entire nasal cavity. I coughed and took a huge sip of water from my bottle.

I kicked aside a dead five-legged, two-tailed cat, let out a cathartic sigh and tossed a woolly bugger into the current. After three drifts, I noticed the black bugger looked more like a tan caddis fly.

Sensing my perplexion, the homeless dude I missed on the way down laughed mockingly behind me. I scowled. A heavy engine returned my attention to the river in time to see John Travolta fly by in Greased Lightning.

That was it.

The part of my brain that isn’t as tolerant of ridiculousness woke me up.

I was in bed; safe and suddenly very content with just driving straight through L.A. on my way home.

To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail