Hey Kids, Ready… Set…. Go Fish!

Sponsored by Alfredo’s Beach Club and several other local fishing-related organizations, the 59th Annual Kids’ Fishing Rodeo was the first weekend in August at Long Beach’s Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.

Earlier this month T and I went to the 59th Annual Kids’ Fishing Rodeo sponsored by Alfredo’s Beach Club here in Long Beach (CA), the Southern California Tuna Club, Long Beach Parks, Recreation & Marine, along with several other partners.

Groups get their spots on the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in Long Beach for the 59th Annual Kids’ Fishing Rodeo.

Kids lined up for their bait buckets at the 59th Annual Kids’ Fishing Rodeo on Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in Long Beach.

Raffle prizes and trophies await eager kids at the 59th Annual Kids’ Fishing Rodeo in Long Beach.

Held every summer down at Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, this FREE event lures in local youth ages 16-and-under with: a free hot dog lunch; a chance to win trophies for best catch (or weirdest catch); an excellent chance to win one of dozens of FREE prizes raffled off at the end of the day (including poles, tackle boxes, T-shirts, and hats); and the opportunity simply to fish the morning away. I can’t think of a more classic and family-friendly way to spend a summer morning, can you RMT’ers?!

The Southern California Tuna Club was among several local fishing organizations circulating through the crowd to assist and answer questions from the kids about fishing and sea life.

Thanks to the California Department of Fish and Game for bringing a stockpile of loaner rods and reels for the 59th Annual Kids’ Fishing Rodeo in Long Beach earlier this month!

The Zeppelin Eureka, owned by Airship Ventures, soars over this year’s annual Kids’ Fishing rodeo in Long Beach.

Deep Blue Swim School of Long Beach, located just down the street off of the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, made its presence known with their ambassadors, Drip and Drop.

While Alfredo’s (the main sponsor) doesn’t provide rods and reels to kids during the event, several other clubs and sponsors come down to the docks stocked up with ample supplies that easily allows for any child to participate. Considering we have no fishing equipment of our own (and even less experience fishing really), this was fantastic news for us (and thank you again to the California Department of Fish and Game booth for our loaners!). There were also other local businesses there participating, like Deep Blue Swim School, and they made it a fun time for the kids, too.

A boy approaches the weigh and measure station with a small bat ray he caught in this year’s Kids’ Fishing Rodeo in Long Beach.

T’s friend D appreciates another child’s small catch in this year’s Kids’ Fishing Rodeo before she tosses it back. It’s just too bad we didn’t have any of our own catch to appreciate.

Another kid shows off his GIANT sea star just before the weigh and measure station closed on the 59th Annual Kids’ Fishing Rodeo of Long Beach (CA). Notice how none of these photos are of T and all his catches? Yeah, I know, but it’s OK; it was still a very fun day out!

Some of you RMT’ers might remember our fish tale from last summer; yeah, well, let’s just say that outing didn’t provide much by way of a fish dinner. However, what it did provide T and our family was a lovely new activity to embark upon together. Going fishing was not anything I grew up with unless you count the handful of times a bamboo pole was thrust upon me during the random day-camp outing here and there, or I can count the numerous times I played the card game “Go Fish.” Yeah, so for me as much as it is for T, the chance to fish is something new and exciting, even if it is a bit of a, well, frustrating experience (and that’s why it’s called fishing, not catching, right RMT’ers?!). I also seem to have passed along some of the “ick” factor in fishing to T, too (whoops).

T isn’t sure what to think about the bait at this year’s Kids’ Fishing Rodeo.

I think T’s friend saw his reaction to the bait. But look how much fun they’re having!

My friend S helps to bait T’s hooks all morning at the annual Kids’ Fishing Rodeo. Thank you again, S! I could have done it, but I am so glad you stepped up to help!

My friend S takes on the role of bird veterinarian during the annual Kids’ Fishing Rodeo in Long Beach earlier this month. One of the kids accidentally hooked this pigeon mid-flight. I still don’t know how it happened but it did, and S stepped up to help other volunteers to help free the bird.

Thankfully, T wasn’t completely at my mercy for baiting his hooks. A friend in our play group told us about this event, so we met up with him and his mom, and turns out she is quite the seasoned fisherman, er, woman. She grabbed those mackerel head-on (slippery little suckers they are!) and hook ‘em right up. She also could cast the line with the best of the regulars out there on the pier that morning; in fact, her casts at times were so distant they hit an adjoining mooring dock! And, when one of the kids nearby hooked a pigeon in flight with their cast, she was right there to assist volunteers in getting the hook and adjoining line untangled and detached to the point where the bird could at least walk away from the scene of the accident.

The kids got hands-on with an educational game and several take-away pamphlets chock full of information, all brought to this year’s Kids’ Fishing Rodeo by the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP).

T and his friend D wait for the fish to bite by thumbing through the brochures they collected at this year’s Kids’ Fishing Rodeo.

This was what T caught at this year’s Kids’ Fishing Rodeo: Lots of information, but no fish.

But not only was I extremely grateful for my friend’s hands-on assistance and patience with me, but her patience and instruction with the kids was awesome as well. She showed the kids (not just ours but those nearby, too) how to untangle lines when they got crossed. She also was great at picking a good spot for our kids to set up shop for the morning (right near the lunch line, and right across from the scales where everyone would walk up to get their catch weighed and measured). She also took the time to introduce the kids to some folks she knew associated with the event in case they had any questions about anything as the day unfolded.

D with his mom S and their new fishing pole that D won in this year’s raffle down at the annual Kids’ Fishing Rodeo, held earlier this month in Long Beach (CA).

T and his friend D enjoy a morning of fishing during this year’s Kids’ Fishing Rodeo in Long Beach (CA).

So, I know you’re wondering, did the kids catch anything. No, no they did not (though his friend did score a nice new rod and reel in the raffle!), so T has his perfect fishing record in tact to date (0 catches). However, what I believe T caught was a nice experience with a friend that he can perhaps repeat for summers to come… and perhaps with more fish on the line next time!

Fish heads, fish heads… eat ’em up, RMT’ers!

While the Kids’ Fishing Rodeo has come and gone in Long Beach for the year, there’s still another local FREE kids’ fishing event to come, and it’s TOMORROW Saturday August 25, 2012! The 21st Annual Youth Fishing Derby at Seal Beach Pier starts with check-in from 7am to 9am, and the event runs from 7:30am until Noon. Just like Long Beach’s Kids’ Fishing Rodeo, the Seal Beach Youth Fishing Derby is a catch-weigh-release tournament and all bait is provided (they, too, will have loaner rods and reels available). Sponsored by the Los Alamitos/Seal Beach Rotary Club, this year’s event will again take place on the Seal Beach Municipal Pier (located in the city of Seal Beach, near the intersection of Main Street and Ocean Avenue). For more details about tomorrow’s event, please contact Rotary Club President Patricia Eskenazi at 562-431-9400.