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Way Back When in Santa Barbara & Mesa Memories

"WAY BACK WHEN" WEDNESDAY - 100 years ago this week

     Boy, did this Santa Barbara fisherman have something to brag about in August 1919! Imagine landing a 1,500-pound fish! The man "harpooned a fish as big as the side of an automobile in the waters of the Channel near Hope Ranch." He must have been looking for big fish because he had a harpoon with him, and used it to spear the fish. "An exciting ride of some distance, with the maddened sunfish acting as the motive power, followed … the big fellow [the fish, that is] was on exhibition at the wharf … he [the fish, again] is valueless for human consumption." 

     I talked to Dr. Milton Love, Research Biologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, author of Certainly More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast to get his take on this gigantic fish tale. He speculated that it was a Mola mola. "They can get very, very large," he told me. This was similar to the rare Mola tecta that washed up on the beach near Coal Oil Point in February, 2019. (Image: A Guide to the Study of Fishes, by David Starr Jordan, 1905)

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