“That wasn’t fishing, Barb,” David cut in. “Fishing without touching water or fish is more like some video game.”
The honk of a horn sounded behind us and our heads flipped around to find a lifeguard getting out of his truck. Rob, wearing his fishing license around his neck, ran over to greet the man. “Is it okay to fish here?” I asked Jen.
“I didn’t see a No Fishing sign among all the other ‘No’ signs,” she replied. Mike pulled the kelp from the hook while the rest of us watched Rob laugh with the lifeguard and then raise a pair of binoculars to look in the direction the guard’s finger was pointing. I turned my eyes to the shore, where sandpipers were hopping along and probing the wet sand with their long pointy beaks. I followed after them for a few minutes, pretending I was reporting live for Animal Planet. Golden peach- and rose-colored light glinted off the waves as the sun dipped into the ocean. I watched the colors shifting in the sky and the iridescent twinkling of the water, and for a moment, forgot about the smell, the flies, and the sand, and inhaled deeply.
Rob returned and explained that apparently we were standing in a protected area (exactly what was being protected, I don’t know, but the popular guess was some rare species of fly). The lifeguard had admitted the signage was poor with regard to the No Fishing rule. Under all the red “No” signs was fine print on a small black-and-white posting that, half-a-tiny paragraph down, said something like, “The taking or possession of sea life or artifacts is prohibited.” Nothing about fishing specifically, which was how everyone had missed it in the first place.
“So,” I said, trying to suppress my smirk. “Where do you want to eat?”