Thomas Orozco

It’s always a pleasure to see youngsters at our PFIC (Pier Fishing In California) and UPSAC (United Pier and Shore Anglers of California) events—fishing derbies and classes. What’s especially interesting is to watch some of these youngsters grow up right before our eyes. One such young man is Thomas Orozco who probably attended more of these events (and won more of the “Kids Derbies”) than just about anyone else.

Interestingly, I got an email a while back inviting me to see him play in his band at the high school band championships at Fresno State. I met with his parents and learned how busy he is with his band and how it was restricting his time to go fishing. Then, later in the summer, I saw him at the Marin Rod and Gun Club “Kids Day on the Pier” when he showed up to volunteer and to help out as needed. He had tuned 16 and was no longer young enough for the derbies but still wanted to help out. Herein is a pictorial essay documenting his growth over the years.


Thomas won his first age group division championship at the 2005 IGFA Young Anglers Tournament held at the “Pep” Pepper Park Pier in National City. Here he receives an award along with another winning young lady.

Thomas holding a Pacific mackerel he caught at the pier.

A brown smoothhound shark  he caught at the Dumbarton Pier that year

A striped bass Thomas caught at the Dumbarton Pier that same trip

Later in the summer of 2005 Thomas attended the Shelter Island Young Anglers Tournament at the Shelter Island Pier and won another age division championship.

Thomas and Adam Cassidy (Baitfish) at the Shelter Island Pier with the grand award

Thomas and his award at the Shelter Island Pier event


Thomas would attend the Shelter Island Pier event again in 2006, and once again win his age division, but we do not have a picture.

Thomas and a leopard shark caught at the Dumbarton Pier in 2006


Hard to believe but Thomas did not win the Shelter Island event in 2007. He did however visit Rosarito Beach in Mexico that summer and fish from the pier where he caught these bonito


In 2008 Thomas once again visited San Diego and the Shelter Island Pier for the IGFA Young Anglers Tournament. He would win his third award following wins in 2005 and 2006


A blackperch from the Berkeley Pier — 2009


Jacksmelt from the Berkeley Pier — 2010

2010 saw a return to San Diego and another age division championship at the Shelter Island Pier

At the Shelter Island event with Mahigeer (Hashem Nahid)


2011 saw a championship at the UPSAC/PFIC Berkeley Pier Young Anglers Tournament


2012 saw another victory at the UPSAC/PFIC Berkeley Young Anglers Tournament

UPSAC Tournament Director Brian Linebarger, Thomas, and yours truly

Thomas and me (Ken Jones, UPSAC President)

Thomas also attended and was the age group winner at the Marin Rod and Gun Club Kids Derby

Thomas was also a raffle prize winner. Carrie Wilson of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife presented the prizes.

Thomas with his gifts for winning his age division along with a gnarled old guy and Mary Patyten of the California Fish and Wildlife Department


Thomas at the 2013 UPSAC/PFIC Berkeley Pier Kids Derby

Thomas together with Mary Patyten and Carrie Wilson from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Thomas and KJ at the derby

Thomas and a blackperch caught at the derby

Later that summer Thomas once again attended the Marin Rod and Gun Club’s “Kids Day on the Pier”

Taking a break

Thomas and a small leopard shark at the derby

Once again Thomas was a winner


2014 saw a return to the IGFA Shelter Island Tournament and another win


2015 would see a return by Thomas to the Marin Rod and Gun Club’s Kids Day on the Pier — and yes, one more win

Thomas with a shovelnose guitarfish he caught at the derby

Thomas and a small leopard shark

KJ (me) presenting Thomas with yet another trio of gifts — a beautiful certificate from the IGFA, a signed copy of Pier Fishing In California (he has enough for a library), and a trophy


Now 16 and too old for the derby, Thomas attended the Marin Rod and Gun Club derby as a volunteer

I think I speak for all PFIC and UPSAC members when I thank Thomas for attending the events and say we admire his growth as an angler and the skill he showed in winning so many championships in these tournaments. We also hope to see Thomas again at our events and I hope to have a chance to fish with him at additional piers.

Thomas is now in the marching band at James Logan H.S. and finds it takes a lot of practice — and time away from fishing. But he loves both.


One in a series of PFIC Young Angler articles

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