A pseudonym used by Edward Lee Fouts, born 1902, his series character was one Red Blake. The novels were set in Hollywood where the author himself resided at the time of writing them, according to publisher blurb that is
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I WAS fishing on a barge off the southern California coast. It was a
bright hot day—with just a touch of haze to fool you about the sun—and
the water squirmed with mackerel. I had caught sixty or seventy, for a
rough guess, and had used only four for bait. These cannibals really go
for each other when cut up in chunks.
I was tired and had stopped for a smoke and a rest when I saw him. He
was plenty big and fairly good-looking, and he had dressed for Hollywood
Boulevard, not for a barge. Two-toned shoes, Palm Beach suit, panama,
and even a cane. One of those springy bamboo ones. He was standing by
the rail not far from the ladder, and I got the idea he was watching me.
I guess it made me a little self-conscious. Anyway, I baited up and cast
out sooner than I had intended. He moved down the rail and leaned over
it, only a few feet away. I hooked a fish and swung it in.
"Mackerel the limit of your ambitions ?" he asked, kind of carelessly.
"How's that ?" I said.
"Why not catch a real fish for a change ?"
I was burned. "Mister," I snapped, "if you think you're good, get a
pole. Mackerel suit me fine."
He didn't talk any more for a while; just watched me pull in four or
five more. Then I guess he couldn't keep quiet another minute.
"I don't like to butt in," he said, "but haven't you noticed how queer
that chum is acting ?"
I took a look and saw they were hugging mighty close to the boat, but
they always do with mackerel around.
"So what ?" I demanded.
"Not the anchovies. They don't mean anything. But see the sardines with
them ? Why don't they plough down under the mackerel and scram ?"
"Brother, take a walk," I said. "Mackerel may not mean much to you, but
they're real food to me. Might be a whale on the bottom, but I can't
spend the day playing with him."
That shut him up again, but not for long.
"Tell you what," he said, "can I rent your rod for fifteen