June 2006

Young Anglers Invited To San Diego

San Diego Anglers

FISH AND FOOD -- Free fishing derbies include hot dogs, chips, sodas, and raffle prizes. Young anglers ages six through 15 are invited to compete in three free International Game Fish Association-sponsored Young Angler Tournaments this summer, the first on Saturday, July 15 at the Shelter Island Pier in San Diego Bay

Photo and Story by Jack Innis

Summer in San Diego promises to be cool and enjoyable for anglers of all ages.

Young anglers ages six through 15 are invited to compete in three free International Game Fish Association-sponsored Young Angler Tournaments this summer.

The first tournament is scheduled for Saturday, July 15 at the Shelter Island Pier in San Diego Bay.

Tournament organizers promise great prizes for event participants and will treat all young anglers to hot dogs and drinks. Last year, dozens of young anglers targeted bass, perch, mackerel, and other species to see who could amass the most overall points.

Prizes were awarded for high points in each age category and to the three top overall scorers. Each tournament features a points system to allow for catch and release.

Winners — one category for each year between six and 15 — will be determined by adding up points for various fish. Anglers may only fish one rod apiece.

Fish must meet California Department of Fish and Game regulations to qualify in tournament. Licenses are not required to fish from Shelter Island Pier.

Experience Not Needed

IGFA representatives and volunteers will be on hand to assist young anglers and to tally points. Young anglers are encouraged to bring their own gear, although a limited number of fishing outfits will be available to loan on a first-come, first-served basis.

Grand prize winners’ names will be placed alongside the previous four annual winners on the David Wirth Perpetual Trophy, which is kept at the Shelter Island Pier.

Advanced registration is recommended by calling the San Diego Sportfishing Council at (619) 234-8793 or visiting www.sportfishing.org. For more information on the California IGFA, visit www.bajafly.com/igfa.

Volunteer support is provided by the IGFA, San Diego Sportfishing Council, Shelter Island Pier, and United Pier and Shore Anglers of California (UPSAC).

Two similar events will be held throughout the summer. Dates and venues will be posted on the California IGFA Web site as soon as they become available.

Pier Always Open

Pier fishing has long been a stepping stone for youngsters to begin angling from boats. Shelter Island Fishing Pier, located at 1776 Shelter Island Drive, has helped indoctrinate many children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews since it was first established in 1956.

The pier is stable and safe environment for young anglers.

Situated on a natural fish byway, the pier keeps anglers busy reeling in sand bass, calico bass, spotted bay bass, spotfin croaker, yellowfin croaker, sargo, opal eye, tom cod, jack smelt, sculpin, and shark. Although the pier only extends approximately 200 feet from shore, it has a T-shaped end which branches out to nearly 500 feet across.

The bay bottom comprises a mixture of mud and sand with patches of eelgrass and a few rocks. Incoming tide usually seems the best, but any time can be productive.

Bait is generally available at the pier’s baithouse. Live anchovies usually produce the most action, followed by ghost shrimp, clams, salt-water worms, mussels, mackerel strips, and salted anchovies.

Experienced gained in handling these baits and rigs translates when youngsters step aboard boats.

Although a wide variety of gear will work — including freshwater tackle — a good all-around pier fishing outfit consists of a 7-foot or longer rod, six to 15-pound test line, number 2 to number 2/0 hooks, and enough weight to cast at least 50 feet toward the middle of the bay.

Rental outfits are available at the bait house for $10.78 plus tax for the day. You’ll need a $20 deposit for each rod.

The bait house also sells food and beverages. Summer hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (possibly later when the bite is hot!). For more information, contact the Shelter Island Fishing Pier at (619) 222-7635.