California Fishing Passport — Fishing & The Ocean Workshop

On August 28 and 29, 2017, I participated along with a number of other people in a workshop given by the California Fish & Wildlife Department. The purpose was to introduce people, mainly but not limited to youngsters, to fishing. Saturday, August  28, was in a classroom setting in Dana Harbor. On Sunday, August 29, we took the participants on a fishing trip to the San Clemente Pier.

This young lady caught the first and only bonito when we visited the San Clemente Pier

Saturday, August 28 in Dana Harbor

Anyone one for cookies?

Setting up!

There was an inside classroom and also several places set up outside for short, 20-minute presentations on different topics (pier fishing, boat fishing, how to tie knots, lures, etc.)

Carrie Wilson of the DF&W was the main person who set up the workshop

Dr. Zachary Schakner discussed the biology of the  SoCal fishing environment

Marty Golden discussed ethical angling

Since most of the kids had never been fishing, one of the first lessons was how to hold a rod and — and how to make a cast — Ron Owens and Roger Eckhardt

Practice, practice, practice…

Mary Patyten discussed Marine Protected Areas

Wayne Kotow of CCA Cal discussed boating

Jordan Smith (not pictured) discussed how to release deep-water fish

Know your fish!

Two DF&W wardens discussed common problems they see


Oops, where’s the “pier rat”

Virgil Perez & Dave Young discussed how to tie knots


Emilio Rebollar

More practice casting — Marlon Meade, Dave Young, and Emilio Rebollar

Sunday, August 29, San Clemente Pier

First things first — cutting mackerel and squid for bait — Jordan Smith and Hashem Nahid

Helping the kids get set up

Pacific mackerel were the main catch

This young man caught a thornback ray

A mackerel coming over the railing along with Ben Acker (DompfaBen) helping untangle a line [Dompfa = dominating positive fishing attitude]


A bat ray

A happy mom and a young man’s first mackerel

Her first bonito!

The pier became fairly crowded

Another mackerel

A yellowfin croaker

Happy mom, happy daughter

Spotfin croaker

“Pier Rats”

Yellowfin croaker and a happy angler

Hashem Nahid and Carrie Wilson

California halibut

Our Gang #1

Our Gang #2

Given that we were busy setting the kids up to fish near the front section of the pier we failed to notice one very important visitor to the pier that morning — a “Great White” shark.

Luckily others noticed the shark swimming alongside the pier and took pictures which resulted in a newspaper article and a video. It’s unfortunate that we missed seeing the shark and showing it to the kids.

Great white shark filmed near San Clemente Pier — Orange County Register — August 28, 2017 — Laylan Connelly

Jordan Jesolva was about to reel in a fish caught on her line when the shark suddenly appeared. “I didn’t care about the fish at that point, I was like, ‘I need to film this’,” she recalled saying as she handed her rod over to her grandfather to get her phone out to capture the sight. “This is once in a lifetime.”

While shark sightings are becoming more frequent, with many in the San Clemente area this past summer, the sight of a great white lingering just beneath a pier is enough to send kids squealing and adults running for the camera.

Jesolva said she spotted the great white — which she estimated to be about 10-foot — at about 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 27. “I was casually fishing on the pier, all of a sudden there’s a huge great white,” she said Monday. “It was probably 100 yards from shore. I had caught a fish — it kind of came right in front of me. It made a circle and it kept swimming under the pier.”

Jesolva, who was on a weekend trip from La Mirada, she had heard about all the recent sightings. “I’ve never seen a shark before. I was like, ‘Wow, this is crazy’,” she said. “It was a really cool experience.”

She said it was on the left side of the pier, with surfers sitting out in the water on the right. Some people shouted to the surfers that there was a shark in the water and some paddled toward shore.

She said she didn’t think to report the sighting to lifeguards, too caught up in the moment. “I feel like maybe I should have. I was too excited,” she said. “Everyone on the pier came and looked at it.”

San Clemente Marine Safety Lifeguard Rod Mellott said no reports came into lifeguards about the sighting. “Anybody that thinks they saw a shark, has video or pictures, please contact the lifeguards right away,” he said. “We can do the proper follow-up and take the proper precautions.”

In the video captured by Jesolva, a child’s voice can be heard saying, “Oh. My. God. Get mom!” A man’s voice, while calmer, still suggests shock. “Wow, that’s a white.”

For Jesolva, it was quite the fish tale she’ll never forget. “Even though I was far from it, it was scary,”  Jesolva said. “But cool at the same time.”

And we missed it — darn!

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