There is something magically surreal about watching a monkeyface eel writhe around on a patch of lawn in the Marina, surrounded by power-walkers, tourists on rental bikes, and big ostentatious yachts. It’s just one part of the ocean foraging tours given by Kirk Lombard (who claims he has killed more of these eels than anyone since the Ohlone Indian days), where he dispels preconceived notions that the Marina is reserved for blue-bloods and out-of-towners.
Lombard is a magnetic, fascinating character: salty commercial fisherman, former Fish and Game
catch inspector, flamboyant showman, self-described puppet master and baseball historian, and
(most importantly) skilled and patient instructor. His two-and-a-half hour tutorials move at a brisk clip;
students often linger afterwards, not ready to re-enter landlubber life.
- where to buy a handmade Dungeness crab trap (old men on a pier in Pacifica)
- how to properly bait your trap (squid meat)
- harvesting Bay mussels while avoiding crippling illness (summer months = danger)
- avoiding trouble with your local Fish and Game warden (“They have short hair, and carry guns.”)
- how to make a “poke pole” to catch monkeyface eels (less than $3 in Home Depot supplies)
These tours happen several times a week, but we recommend you attend on a Saturday or Sunday
morning. There’s nothing to make you feel more transported from the city’s clamor than hanging out at
the old stone lighthouse, getting schooled on DIY ocean foraging, and watching the fog slowly lift from
the Golden Gate Bridge. Just try to ignore the Segways scooting by in the near distance …
Sign up for Kirk’s classes here, or follow his blog,
The Monkeyface News.
P.S. Did we mention that he used to put out a zine, bound in monkeyface eel skin that he dried on the
roof of his Mission apartment? Total. Badassery.