The Shelter Island Pier swarmed with laughter and enthusiastic chatter as over 125 young anglers and their families from many diverse backgrounds gathered on August 14, 2016 for the Annual Young Anglers Fishing Tournament.
They shared at least one single interest — “fishing!”
After a group photo, and long before Hashem Nahid, a member of United Pier & Shore Anglers of California, the Tournament Director, announced “Start Fishing!” at precisely 8:30 a.m., the young anglers from 6- to 15-years-old, in many cases with their entire families joining them, had eagerly looked forward to the warm sunny day fishing on the Pier.
After registering and receiving their goody bags, they were given a bag of cut bait and a fully rigged fishing rod that Tom Gruber, a member of San Diego Rod & Reel Club, in charge of Fishing Equipment Preparation & Set Up, along with his volunteer team members, had rigged earlier. The anglers then picked their preferred spot along the pier and settled down in hopes of having a fun day of fishing.
Volunteer judges prowled up and down the T-shaped pier, seemingly as eager to hear the shout of “hook-up” as the anglers of all sizes were to be hooked up. Some voices boomed while others (the younger ones) murmured a faint cry but all were responded to by photographers, judges and volunteers as eager as the young anglers to see what had been caught.
Judges verified the catch and photographers gently posed the successful angler with their catch. All the while laughter and congratulations echoed up and down the pier as others turned back to their rods, concentrating on catching something themselves.
Volunteers were hard at work, preparing lunch for everyone. Tommy Gomes and his gang prepared his famous fish tacos as he had for many years in the past. It was truly poetry in motion to see them set up their station, cook and prepare to serve the crowd of kids and their parents. Years of practice had served them well — the canopy went up, soon followed by their tables and stove. Not a movement was wasted, and soon the spicy aroma of the opah tacos surrounded them as they completed preparations.
Meanwhile other volunteers were busy setting out water, soft drinks, chips and candy snacks for the hungry kids and their families until lunch could be served.
Carrie Wilson, along with other DFW Representatives passed out Fish ID books and other fishing information including “Personal Catch Record” pamphlets for the young anglers.
One proud mother stopped by the DFW table to show how her son, Ethan Mayes, had completely filled out his “Personal Catch” book. “That’s the first one I’ve ever seen completed,” Wilson confided.
The morning passed quickly and as predicted the bite coincided with lunch being served.
Both occurred about the same time as the tide changed. Hungry families charged the lunch tables, stocking up on fish tacos, hot dogs, chips, soft drinks and water and then dashed back for the final hour of fishing.
The day produced a mixed bag of fish. With a few surprises — several corvina, calico bass, blue perch and even a bat ray. Too soon the horn blew signaling the competition was over.
As Catherine Miller and her staff tallied up the scores, the junior anglers flanked by their supporting families, waited nervously.
The tournament featured a points system to allow for catch and release. One winner was determined in each age category between 6 and 15 — based on points accumulated for various fish caught and released.
The angler with the most points overall was recognized on the tournament’s perpetual trophy, which was donated by David Wirth.
Congratulations to the Winners
- 6 Yrs Old Melody Brodowski El Cajon, CA
- 7 Yrs Old Marcelino Lapaston San Diego, CA
- 8 Yrs Old Alden Evans Santee, CA
- 9 Yrs Old Tristen Arden Menifee, CA
- 10 Yrs Old Angelina Brodowski El Cajon, CA
- 11 Yrs Old Ethan Mayes San Diego, CA
- 12 Yrs Old Michael Jorgensen Escondido, CA
- 13 Yrs Old Isaak Angulo National City, CA
- 14 Yrs Old Seth Mose Imperial Beach, CA
- 15 Yrs Old Zane Zwick Sun City, CA
- Overall winner Ethan Mayes (note: Ethan Mayes was also top angler in 2015)
Thanks to the IGFA Representatives and the Volunteers from the United Pier and Shore Anglers Club, San Diego Rod & Reel, San Diego Anglers and the San Diego Fly Fishers for their assistance before and during the event.
Big thanks to all of the wonderful sponsors who have made the event possible over the past 14 years
Port of San Diego, Major Markets, Stump’s Family Market, Michael L. Farrior, OKUMA Fishing Tackle, Turner’s Outdoors, Anglers Distributing, Squidco, Big Hammer Lures, Costa Sunglasses, Uni-Goop, H & M Landing, Fisherman’s Landing , Fisherman’s Landing Tackle, Point Loma Sportfishing, Seaforth Tackle (Friends of Rollo), Booyaa Nation, Anglers Arsenal/Western Plastics, DeFishing Soap, Everingham Brothers Bait Co., Fathom Bistro, San Diego Marine Exchange, Promar/Ahi, Three Lollies, Bug Band , USS Midway Museum and Tiburon Engineering.
Awards were provided by (IGFA) International Game Fish Association and Michael L. Farrior, Trustee.
Hope to see you all in 2017.