The fish weren’t biting much on Sunday along the Sacramento River, but anglers were steadily pulling in a lot more than they were expecting, luckily, none of their ‘explosive’ catches detonated because they were far too dangerous to throw back. One boat belonged to a family with children on board.
A literally ‘explosive’ catch
Jon Kenyon, and his family thought Sunday would be a beautiful day for a fishing trip on the Sacramento River. They had no idea that things would literally become explosive. Like most fishermen, Kenyon has pulled a lot of junk off the river bottom over the years.
Whatever was on the end of his line was pretty solid but it wasn’t fighting back so Kenyon was wondering what would eventually break surface. From the weight, the object felt like possibly a lost anchor. It never occurred to him that the object might be explosive. “My father-in-law had the net ready and we got it up towards the boat,” he relates. When they first saw it coming up through the water, “We thought it was like an anchor and so we put the net away and got the line up.”
Before they got their catch into the boat they didn’t recognize what they had. “My father-in-law was like ‘It’s a bomb. Everyone get to the front of the boat.'” You can’t get real far away from an explosive on a fishing boat. They quickly called in the police but while they were waiting, another boat started attracting the family’s attention. It turned out that he found one too.
More bombs dredged up from the bottom
According to the Tehama County sheriff’s office, “dispatch received a phone call from the fisherman around 1:15 p.m., stating while he was fishing at the mouth of Battle Creek (commonly known as the Barge Hole) he reeled in a device he thought was a pipe bomb.” While the Boating Safety Unit was responding to neutralize the explosive, a “separate fisherman contacted the sheriff’s office to report that he had reeled in a second device.”
As reported by Sgt. Mark Levindofske of the sheriff’s boating unit, when his team arrived it didn’t take them long to confirm that the explosive device was indeed a “live pipe bomb.” That “area of the river was closed and the bomb squad called.” The experts “determined the devices to be dangerous and detonated the bombs on site.”
The investigation into who left the explosive devices in the river and why is currently ongoing but the lab report revealed that all of the recovered devices have been “live” and fully functioning. They advise extreme caution in the area and request “all fisherman fishing in the Barge Hole area be especially careful and cautious as, it is unknown if any other destructive devices such as the pipe bombs are in the water.” Mr. Kenyon has an unofficial theory. He told reporters that the bombs were left behind by greedy fishermen trying to “cut corners.” He thinks, “that they’re probably trying to blow up salmon and knocking ’em out and having ’em float up.”