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Tales of the Fish Patrol

Jack London

Book Overview: 

Wildest among the fisher-folk may be accounted the Chinese shrimp-catchers. It is the habit of the shrimp to crawl along the bottom in vast armies till it reaches fresh water, when it turns about and crawls back again to the salt. And where the tide ebbs and flows, the Chinese sink great bag-nets to the bottom, with gaping mouths, into which the shrimp crawls and from which it is transferred to the boiling-pot. This in itself would not be bad, were it not for the small mesh of the nets, so small that the tiniest fishes, little new-hatched things not a quarter of an inch long, cannot pass through. The beautiful beaches of Points Pedro and Pablo, where are the shrimp-catchers villages, are made fearful by the stench from myriads of decaying fish, and against this wasteful destruction it has ever been the duty of the fish patrol to act.These stories are set in the waterways around San Francisco Bay and involve the fish patrol with a variety of characters of different ethnicity and cultural backgrounds

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .about him—the hooks, the lines, the fish, and the man himself. This meant that we must take Big Alec on the open water, where he could see us coming and prepare for us one of the warm receptions for which he was noted.

"There's no getting around it," Charley said one morning. "If we can only get alongside it's an even toss, and there's nothing left for us but to try and get alongside. Come on, lad."

We were in the Columbia River salmon boat, the one we had used against the Chinese shrimp-catchers. Slack water had [52]come, and as we dropped around the end of the Solano Wharf we saw Big Alec at work, running his line and removing the fish.

"Change places," Charley commanded, "and steer just astern of him as though you're going into the shipyard."

I took the tiller, and Charley sat down on a thwart amidships, placing his revolver handily beside him.

"If he begins to shoot," he cautioned, "get down in the bottom and steer . . . Read More

Community Reviews

(Okay, now I'm thoroughly confused - do I like Jack London or not?! Some of what I'd read recently comes across as racist - and then, this - ?) This was wonderful, about his experiences on the fish patrol (as a 16 year old, mind you, which only adds to my distress, because he's a plucky, indomita...more

I thought this would be a fun collection of short stories written early in London's life. London himself was an oyster pirate, as the oyster beds in the San Francisco Bay were privatized. He then went on to work for the opposition; the fish patrols sailed throughout the bay busting Chinamen with...more

This is a very good book in the style it's written. If you like Jack London and his style you'll love this book. Not as gritty as the Sea Witch, but good. A quick and easy read for pure pleasure, not much stopping and thinking.

This is a book that I read on my Kindle to the kids at bedtime. It's taken quite a while, because their mom usually reads to them at bedtime. I enjoyed this book, but the kids received it with mixed reviews. When we finished tonight, Braedi asked if there was a second book, and Dyllan cheered tha...more

Sadly, not very much about fish

This is a good read that is very different to novels written today. Interesting items pop up like shoelaces made from porpoise hide and other things we don't remember from a century or more ago.
For those who know the San Francisco Bay area, the places should be familiar. There was actually countr...more

Интересно скорее с точки зрения рыбацкого быта начала прошлого века. Остроумные технические решения проблем с браконьерами, полиэтничный состав последних в заливе Сан-Франциско, подробности промысла лосося и устриц.

Tales of the Fish Patrol - Jack London (1905)

White and Yellow — 3/5
The King of the Greeks — 3/5
A Raid on the Oyster Pirates — 2/5
The Siege of the Lancashire Queen — 2/5
Charley's Coup — 2/5
Demetrios Contos — 3/5
Yellow Handkerchief — 2/5

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