An army of volunteers began arriving at sunup at Shelter Island pier, 1776 Shelter Island Drive, Saturday August 3rd. San Diego Sportfishing Council event coordinator Vic Gamboa led the team of volunteers provided by International Game Fish Association (IGFA), United Pier and Shore Anglers Club, San Diego Rod & Reel Club and San Diego Anglers. Staging for free 11th Annual Young Angler Tournament went quickly as the team performed like a well-oiled machine.
Registration of the 100 participating young anglers went quickly and each angler was provided a goody bag with T-Shirt or hat and terminal tackle. At 9:00 AM John Campbell, the event MC flipped the switch on his megaphone and welcomed the junior anglers ages six through 15 and their parents and signaled the start of the tournament. Children and parents alike dashed to their preferred spots on the pier. Bags of cut bait prepared earlier were opened and hooks baited. Throughout the morning judges rushed to lucky anglers with fish to mark their scorecard and assist with the release of the fish calling for the photographer to record events.
Mid morning, Tommy Gomes, Catalina Offshore Products and his team began serving his famous fish tacos, each with a big smile and comment. Soon there was a steady stream of anglers and parents for the free lunch of tacos or hotdogs donated by Stump’s Village Market of Rancho Santa Fe plus all the fixings and drinks.
All morning Michael Farrior, I.G.F.A. Trustee and his wife Susan visited with the children and parents. NOAA and CA Fish & Game each had set up informational displays and provided fish identification materials, CA Fish & Game regulations and measuring rulers which indentified the legal length of various fish species.
At 12:00 noon M.C. John Campbell declared lines out and the process began to determine the winner in each age category between six and 15. Winners were scored on a point system to allow for catch and release. There was one winner in each age category between six and 15. Six year old Hanna Davis of Lemon Grove did not earn any points for a catch, but was awarded honorable mention for effort as being the only six year old to return her tally card.
All winners received a new rod and reel combo from OKUMA Fishing Tackle, a subscription to Western Outdoor News, a free rod rental from Fathom Bait & Tackle and the opportunity to fish aboard the sportfisher Premier in the Mike Farrior Marlin Club Juniors Tournament to be held on Saturday, August 24th.
Winners in each category were:
Age 7 Justin Larsen– San Diego
Age 8 Rafael Aguila– El Cajon
Age 9 (tie) Nicholas Viscaino– San Diego and Lewis Thompson IV– El Cajon
Age 10 Henry Hammer– San Diego
Age 11 Bruce Gillard– Imperial Beach
Age 12 Kyle Sullivan– Imperial Beach
Age 13 Thomas Orozco– Union City
Age 14 Jacob Thrush– La Mesa
Age 15 (tie) Joseph Ridley– San Pasqual and Sienna Gomez– Spring Valley
Overall winner was Bruce Gillard of Imperial Beach who won the coveted top spot with multiple catches of bass and lizardfish. He was awarded a half-day fishing trip for two aboard Premier out of H&M Landing and will have his name added to the perpetual trophy provided by sculptor David Wirth.
Sponsors of the Young Anglers Tournament include Port of San Diego, IGFA, OKUMA Fishing Tackle, Anglers Distributing, Anglers Arsenal, De-Fishing Soap, Friends of Rollo, H&M Landing, Everingham Bait, Quesey Pops, Bob’s #1 Tackle, PromarAhi, Vicious Fishing Line, Big Hammer Lures, Maxima Line, Pelagic Gear, Booyaa Fishing Gear, Fathom Bistro & Tackle Shop at Shelter Island Pier, Stumps Market, Catalina Offshore Products, Specialty Produce and Squidco. Prizes and raffle drawing items for the tournament include rods and reels, hats, T-shirts, and fishing gear and deep-sea fishing trips. Loaner gear, bait, and terminal tackle are provided by Okuma Fishing Tackle, Anglers Distributing, and Friends of Rollo.
The San Diego Sportfishing Council is California non-profit corporation established in 1979 to promote San Diego fishing as an attractive marine recreational activity, to increase awareness and availability of “how, when and where” information on sportfishing opportunities. The San Diego Sportfishing Council produces the annual Day At The Docks event each April and coordinates a Partnership in Education with area schools, which provides free fishing trips to groups of students and chaperones throughout the school year.