On a day when temperature records were getting broken all over the Southland, Patricia Perez broke a record of her own: six fish caught on the lukewarm LA River.
“I’d never caught one fish until today,” Perez said.
She was one of the 120 Angelinos who took advantage of Trout Unlimited’s Vamos a Pescar program to learn how to fish our urban water.
“She was the first one on the water with me this morning, “co-event organizer Ban Luu said.
Before 9 a.m., both Luu and Perez had hooked green catfish on his secret masa recipe. And before the event officially ended early at 11:30 because of the intense heat, she’d caught five small carp as well.
All fish were released successfully back into the river.
Co-event organizer Ban Luu asks the kids in the crowd, “Hey, close your eyes. What do you hear?” (Jim Burns)
Poet and river visionary Lewis McAdams would have been proud to see the next generation of river stewardship unfold. (Jim Burns)
Not only did these lucky children get their own rods for free, they also got to put their names on their very own mini-tackle boxes. (Jim Burns)
Mini-tackle boxes include a waterproof chart on knot tying. (Jim Burns)
Casting practice boils down to getting that itty-bitty bobber into that great big Hulu Hoop. (William Preston Bowling)
(Click on the photos above to read the captions.)
They came, they saw and, boy, did they conquer.
The first day of the first weekend of Vamos a Pescar brought kids, parents, young adults and volunteers to Marsh Park on a May Gray morning to learn the beginnings of becoming an urban fisher for life: tidbits about our river; safety; rigging a spin outfit; casting a bobber inside a Hulu hoop ring, sort of like the pros, only with more smiles (and tangled line).
“We gave out 120 spots, an overflow from our original number,” said Bob Blankenship, Trout Unlimited South Coast Chapter and co-organizer of the event.
What does this mean for readers of this blog who know how to fish and want to pass that skill along to others? There are volunteer spots open next weekend (Saturday and/or Sunday, 9 a.m.-noon) when all these new fishers will try out their nascent skills at the Bowtie Parcel. Please sign up by contacting Blankenship at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The funding for this grant comes from the George H. W. Bush Vamos a Pescar Education Fund administered by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. The Vamos a Pescar initiative is focused on engaging Hispanic families in fishing, boating, and conservation activities.
As a consultant on “Off Tha Hook,” I’m super excited kids will once again have a structured way to engage our river and catch the passion we all love. My favorite memories of the three fishing throwback years were of kids — kids rushing down the rip-rap to get to the water; kids learning how to knot a hook on a line; kids wondering where in the heck all the fish went; and — blam — kids hooking up on possibly the first fish of their young lives.
As TU chapter president Robert Blankenship, who was instrumental in “Off Tha Hook” along with FoLAR co-founder Lewis MacAdams and former all-star-staffer William Preston Bowling, said in that same post:
“In an increasingly wired world, fishing encourages Americans young and old to discover and connect with the nature around us, even in highly urbanized settings such as the greater Los Angeles area. This grant funding will allow us to introduce dozens of kids and adults to the wonders of fishing who may never have had such opportunity.”