Avila Pier — 2013 Kids Fishing Tournament

Beautiful weather and hungry fish helped make the 2013 Avila Pier Youth Fishing Tournament a resounding success. Sponsored by the United Pier and Shore Anglers of California (UPSAC) and the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), the tournament was held at the Avila Pier on September 14, 2013. Although competing against opening soccer days for many areas, the tournament still drew 36 young anglers and a crowd of over 100 people.

Avila Pier in the foreground, the Cal Poly research pier in the middle, and the Port San Luis Pier in the distance

Mary Patyten from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife distributed literature and signed up youngsters for the department’s “Fishing Passport Program”

The derby was held at the end of the Avila Pier

Free loaner rods and reels, free bait, free hot dog lunches, raffle prizes for every kid, and a winner for each age group helped keep the derby interesting. Perhaps as important was the catch of many fish,  even if most were small  lizardfish. Fish, no matter the size, seemed to keep the youngsters excited and hungry for more. The 36 youngsters caught 261 lizardfish, 19 white croaker and 7 speckled sanddab; nothing big but fun nevertheless, especially since many had never caught a fish before in their life.

The Avila Pier sits in a beautiful setting!

The first fish caught was a white croaker

There was a steady catch of lizardfish

A small speckled sanddab joined in the fun

Yep, it’s a lizardfish

After the fishing concluded, lunch was served followed by the raffle in which every youngster received a gift.

Get your tickets out and listen for the numbers

Raffle prizes were donated by UPSAC, IGFA, NOAA, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Fish Taco Chronicle Magazine, and Jim Kelsey owner of Zippy’s At The Pier (the bait shop on Avila Pier). The grand prize, two half-day fishing trips, was donated by Patriot Sportfishing of Port San Luis. Special thanks go to Linnette Ganster and the Port San Luis Harbor District for use of the Avila Pier.

The last event was the announcement of the age group winners. Age group winners: 6-year-old Julia Terry; 7-year-old Michael Beareden; 8-year-old Cassandra Eroh; 9-year-old Luke Zhao; 10-year-old James Dwer; 11-year-old Larry Zhao; 12-year-old Mason Marini; 13-year-old Emily Wamhof; and 14-year-old Lee Andra Garcia. All winners received trophies from UPSAC, beautiful certificates from the IGFA, and autographed copies of Pier Fishing in California by Ken Jones.

6-Year-Old Winner Julia Terry and UPSAC President Ken Jones

7-Year-Old Winner Michael Beareden

8-Year-Old Winner Cassandra Eroh

9-Year-Old Winner Luke Zhao

10-Year-Old Winner James Dwer

11-Year-Old Winner Larry Zhao

12-Year-Old Winner Mason Marini

13-Year-Old Winner Emily Wamhof

14-Year-Old Winner Lee Andra Garcia

The event Coordinator was Michael Spence from UPSAC ably assisted by his lovely wife Cheryl. They were joined by Ken Jones, President of UPSAC, Robert Gardner, Vice President of UPSAC, and Brian Linebarger, Secretary of UPSAC. Helpers included Pier Fishing in California members Burger (from Malibu), Sylvania, and Preston Davis (East Bay) as well as a number of people from Santa Maria. Representing California Fish and Wildlife was Mary Peyton who manned a booth and signed up kids for the California Fishing Passport Program.  Representing Zippy’s At The Pier was Jim Kelsey.

A certificate was given to Jim Kelsey from Zippy’s At The Pier (on the Avila Pier)

Cheryl Spence, Robert Gardner and Preston Davis take a break before the final clean-up begins.

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