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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Bob Vanian's 976-Bite Hot Bite

Amazing fishing for bluefin
Bluefin tuna continue to winter out by the Cortes and Tanner Banks and anglers continue to catch some good numbers of 15 to 35 pound bluefin. The last trip out actually found excellent numbers of bluefin biting out at the Cortes Bank as the Tribute out of Seaforth Sportfishing was out on a 1.5 day trip on Thursday and had 17 anglers catch 143 bluefin tuna, 1 skipjack and 7 bonito.



Private boater Harry Okuda of the Alfresco III was one of the 17 anglers aboard the Tribute on Thursday and he reported about the trip. Okuda said it was a fantastic day of fishing that was highlighted by an 8.5 hour bait stop. The long bait stop started from a sonar mark that was located at around 9 a.m. and it lasted until sundown.


Okuda caught his limit of bluefin on the trip and within that limit was the biggest bluefin aboard the trip which weighed in at 26.5 pounds. He said the bluefin they were catching ranged in size from around 15 pounds on up to his 26.5 pound fish.


Okuda reported that the bluefin were biting best on sardines fished with 15 and 20 pound test live bait outfits and he suggested starting out with trying 20 pound test and then dropping down to 15 pound test if you are not getting bit. His favored rigs on this trip were live bait outfits with 40 pound test spectra and a 30 foot fluorocarbon leader of either 15 or 20 pound test fluorocarbon. He felt that using heavier spectra was not a good idea as it created more drag for the bait to have to swim with. When using an outfit with spectra that is heavier than 40 pound test, Okuda's advice has been to use a long 15 or 20 pound test monofilament top shot between the spectra and the fluorocarbon leader so the bait you are fishing with does not have to pull the heavy spectra through the water.


Okuda also suggested using a small hook relative to the size sardine you are fishing with. On Thursday, he was getting bit best while using a size 2 live bait hook. He said he lost some hookups to pulled hooks while fighting some of the bluefin he hooked during the day but he felt it was worth loosing an occasional hookup if he was getting more bites as a result of using the smaller size hook. In this type of stealth fishing, taking the time at the bait tank to select a lively bait can also be a big help in getting the touchy bluefin to bite.


There have been bluefin biting around the Cortes Bank and the Tanner Bank high spot areas. The best fishing has been reported while fishing to the southeast of the 9 Fathom Spot high spot area at the Cortes Bank. Skippers often look for trolling strikes, meter marks or sonar marks to stop on while fishing to the southeast of the high spot areas in 20 to 50 fathoms of water. Skipjack and bonito are often found together with bluefin and some of the skipjack or bonito trolling strikes will result in catching bluefin tuna on drifted sardines.


The water temperature by the Cortes and Tanner Banks continues to hold between 62 and 63 degrees and the current reading out at the Tanner Bank Weather Buoy which is located outside of both the Tanner Bank and the Cortes Bank is at 62.2 degrees on Friday afternoon, January 30, 2015 as this report is being prepared.


Along the coast, there are still good sized 18- to 30+pound yellowtail around and biting for boats fishing various hard bottom areas along the San Diego County coast and at The 150 area below the Horseshoe Kelp. In addition to a chance at yellowtail there have been sand bass, calico bass and sculpin biting along with an occasional white seabass or halibut.


Anglers should keep in mind that the annual 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure went into effect in California/United States waters on Jan. 1, 2015. The somewhat offsetting good news is that the sculpin closure on the U.S./California side of the border came to an end on Jan. 1, 2015. The fishing for rockfish does remain open in Mexican waters while the 2 month closure period is in effect on the California/United States side of the Mexican border.


The coastal yellowtail action continues to be hit or miss and has been on the scratchy side of things the past couple of days after some good action early in the week. The two areas that have been most consistent in producing yellowtail have been while fishing hard bottom spots outside of Box Canyon and while fishing hard bottom spots at The 270 off Mission Bay. Other hard bottom areas that have been producing occasional yellowtail action have been the upper end of La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach and Leucadia. Yellowtail have been located by finding meter marks and sonar marks with most of the yellowtail being located over hard bottom areas. Once a school of yellowtail is located, the best ways to try and hook a fish have been to use yo-yoed iron or to use a sardine or mackerel that is fished on a dropper loop rig. Good depth ranges to locate yellowtail have generally been ranging from 30 to 55 fathoms of water with there being yellowtail reported in as shallow as about 18 fathoms outside of Del Mar and the upper end of La Jolla.


Good choices for yo-yo iron have been Salas 6X jigs in blue and white or scrambled egg color combinations. Whether you are using live bait or iron, most of the yellowtail action continues to come while fishing your bait or jig in the lower half of the water column.


The Coronado Islands continue to produce some pretty good to good yellowtail action along with some good numbers of rockfish. The best areas for yellowtail have been while fishing hard bottom spots into the east of North Island as well as hard bottom areas inside of and outside of the Middle Grounds. A good depth range has been in 20 to 25 fathoms of water.


The yellowtail have been mixed size fish that have ranged from 6 to 20 pounds. Most of the yellowtail action has been coming from stopping and drifting on meter marks or sonar marks found over hard bottom areas. Once located, the best ways to catch a yellowtail have been to use a sardine that is fished deep on a dropper loop rig or to use yo-yoed iron. At times the yellowtail will respond to the chum and come to the surface and in those instances action can be had on surface iron or flylined sardines. There are a lot of red crabs being reported around the Islands and yellowtail are often located in specific spots where you might be seeing red crabs.


Bottom fishing has been very good around the Coronados with the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank and the hard bottom to the north and northwest of North Island being productive areas for what has been a mix of nice quality reds, salmon grouper and lingcod. On Sunday, private boaters Harry Okuda of the Alfresco III, Miguel Martinez of the Driftaway and Steve Methey of the Dos Gringos fished the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank with Luc Ofield of Angler's Choice Tackle aboard Ofield's boat Dog's Life and Okuda and Martinez reported about the trip.


Okuda said they were pre-fishing for the Southwestern Yacht Club's Annual Bottom Fishing Tournament on May 2, 2015 to benefit the ElderHelp charity and that they found limit fishing on what was mostly a mix of quality sized lingcod, reds and salmon grouper. Okuda reported that their lingcod went to 10 pounds and that they had salmon grouper and reds that were getting up to around the 6 pound mark. His report was that the fish really wanted to bite sardines that were fished on plain hooks with a 2 hook gangion. This rig and bait combination was working better than using shrimp flies and was also working better than using strips of octopus.


Boats fishing 1.5 day trips down the Mexican coast to Punta Colnett continue to find excellent fishing for a mix of yellowtail, reds, salmon grouper and lingcod. The quality size of the fish being caught continues to be very good with most of the yellowtail being in the 18 to 30 pound class, the lingcod going to 20+ pounds and with a lot of quality sized reds within the mixture of assorted rockfish. The best bets for the yellowtail have been using yo-yoed iron or using a sardine that is fished on a dropper loop rig. Good choices for yo-yo iron have been Salas 6X and 7X heavy jigs in blue and white or scrambled egg colors.


Most of the trips have been fishing Punta Colnett on weekend 1.5 day trips and some counts from Saturday's fishing are the Tribute and Eclipse out of Seaforth Sportfishing that had 61 anglers on 1.5 day trips combine to catch 140 yellowtail, 125 reds, 298 rockfish and 67 lingcod. The Chief out of H&M Landing had 34 anglers on a 1.5 day trip catch 87 yellowtail, 216 rockfish and 1 bonito.


It is beyond the scope of my memory to be able to recall a 1.5 day sportboat trip out of Mission Bay that returned with a catch that included 143 bluefin tuna at the end of January. This is an amazing winter of fishing we are having and I hope you get a chance to get out fishing and enjoy the unseasonably good action.


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It is my goal to provide you timely and accurate information in these reports containing news from right off the water. If you require more details that include the specific location of where catches have been made, I refer you to the daily Member’s Reports at www.976bite.com. Those Member’s Reports contain additional specifics that include latitude and longitude coordinates and other descriptive references about where and how fish are being caught. Make the most efficient use of your precious time on the water with the use of timely and accurate information.


Jim Niemiec's Blog

SHOT Show 2015 was a total blast
Part 1 of 2 Guns and Ammo

The annual SHOT Show, in Las Vegs, NV, was an awesome event for tens of thousands of gun and tactical industry folks that showed up for the weeklong event that show cased a tremendous variety of rifles, shotguns, pistols, ammo, accessories and equipment designed specifically for tactical self-protection or security use.


The week-long event started out on Monday at the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club Range during an annual event called "Industry Day at the Range." The entire range was converted into a vast collogue of outdoor tents that covered shooting bays. Just about every major rifle, pistol, shotgun or tactical rifle manufacturer was on hand to offer the media a chance to fire all the newest in firearms and ammunition that would be introduced the following day at SHOT Show.


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NEW SAVAGE A 17 ON TARGET — WON's Jim Niemiec is pictured on the shooting bench with the new Savage 17 HMR autoloader. This smooth shooting rifle was right on target at 100 yards.

The transition of SHOT Show from basically a hunting and shooting sports show featuring big game rifles, pistols, ammo, decoys and related hunting accessories, to tactical "black gun" manufacturers and their related accessories is now in place. In years past the proper attire for a hunting or shooting writer attending this show would be clothing from L.L. Bean, Cabela's, Columbia Sportswear, Bob Allen and Filson, in styles featuring Realtree or Mossy Oak camo or blaze orange; today it's all black shirts, pants, hats and vests that are related to the growth of interest in tactical firearms and the many accessories that accompany this industry saving transition by most all firearms manufacturers.


Western Outdoor News spent the entire day at the range shooting a variety of new rifles, shotguns, AR style tactical rifles, pistols and had a chance to visit with a lot of industry folks. The next two days were spent on show room floors of the Sands Expo & Convention Center trying to stop by to visit with as many manufacturers and distributors as possible. This show has really expanded with booths now in tight places that were in the past used for storage and other show related support. With the addition of hundreds of tactical equipment booths the convention center has been forced to open up more meeting rooms to accommodate the growth of this segment of the shooting sports industry.


WON will not even attempt to talk about all the new and neat products and innovations that were introduced at this year's show, but rather highlight some of the products that related to the world of hunting, shooting sports and accessories. This hunting editor feels that not far in the too distant future there could be a standalone tactical gun and related equipment show, as it moves into high gear, similar to the archery show that was a spinoff of the original SHOT Show due the popularity of bow hunting across America.


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BUSTING CLAY TARGETS WITH THE NEW BENELLI 828U — The new Benelli o/u model 828U was a smooth swinging shotgun on the clay target range as tested by Jim Niemiec

There were newly released firearms that caught this hunting editor's eye right away. My first stop was the Savage Arms (recently purchased by ATK/Federal) booth to test fire the new Savage Model A17 auto-loader rifle. This rifle and cartridge are ideal for varmint shooting, hitting targets and just plinking. The bullet spins out of the barrel at 2650 fps and there is very little recoil (if any), as a series of 10 shots can be taken in rapid succession. The rifle test fired on the range, equipped with a Bushnell Banner 3.5X10 scope, hit targets set out at 100 yards on every shot as the magazine fed new rounds into the chamber smoothly without any jams. The MSRP is $465 without the scope.


WON had a chance to talk with Chris Bezzina, Savage Arms Director of Operations, who was instrumental in the development of the model A17.


"Jim, I think you will enjoy shooting the A17. It's a very smooth shooting rifle and has a comfortable fit to the shoulder. This small bore rifle is ideal for varmint hunting as the velocity of the bullet can knock down a coyote at farther distances and it's an economical rifle to shoot now that there is a lot of 17 HMR ammo available on dealer shelves," said Bezzina.


Western Outdoor News couldn't wait to get over the shotgun shooting range were an array of clay targets were being thrown in a variety of angles. This editor's choice of guns on the many gun racks was the new Benelli model 828U. This new Benelli features and integrated system for comfort, design and technology. The Progressive Comfort recoil system is second to none on the market and makes shooting a 12 ga. pure joy. This shotgun comes with adjustable drop and cast, has a steel locking system, steel locking plate, removable trigger group, impulse activated ejectors and auto safety upon closure. The balance and relativity light weight makes this over/under shotgun a good choice for swinging on upland game or as a waterfowl companion. To give you an idea of how well the 828U performs on a clay target range, this hunting editor shot a box of shells (25 rounds) and broke 23 clay targets. Wish I could have shot half that good on a recent quail hunt.


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CHECKING OUT THE NEW WINCHESTER XPR BOLT-ACTION RIFLE — Paul Thompson, Marketing Manager for Browning/Winchester, shows WON's Jim Niemiec the finer details of the Winchester XPR bolt-action rifle at SHOT Show. WON PHOTOS BY TONI NIEMIEC

There wasn't much in the way of new big game hunting rifles to check out, although there were racks and racks of AR style "Black guns" in a variety of calibers to test fire. Weatherby introduced new rifles and shotguns at SHOT Show. Three of the newest rifles from Weatherby are the Vanguard Synthetic chambered for the .375 H&H, the MARK V Outfitter RC that weighs in at just 5.5 lbs. in the 5 lug model, and the MARK V Arroyo RC. New shotguns from Weatherby include the Mdl. PA-08 Waterfowler MAX-5, the model PA-08 Synthetic compact pump action 20 ga., the PA-08 Turkey and the PA-459 Turkey with rubberized pistol grip for one hand control and fully dipped in Realtree Xtra Green camo. Legacy Sports International show cased its new bolt-action rifle series by introducing the HOWA Alpine Mountain rifle series and Remington's all new V3 12 ga. semi auto shotgun in camo was a nice to shoulder.


There was more in the way of development of "green" non-lead ammo in large caliber cartridges but not much in the way of small game except for two rimfire cartridges from Federal at their CCI facility. As mentioned above the A17 round feeds smoothly and this bullet's velocity is about 100 fps faster than other 17 HMR loads with the same bullet weight. CCI developed a new 22 long-rifle rimfire that holds together much better than small grain bullets of a few years back.


On the shotgun shell side, Federal introduced Federal Premium 3rd Degree turkey loads that have been engineered to pattern more tightly and reach out farther. Federal's new 3rd Degree shot shells use a multi-shot, three-stage payload to deliver lethal patterns at any range. The leading section of the payload, 20 percent of the pellet count, is made up of No. 6 nickel-plated FLITESTOPPER lead. The next 40 percent of the load is copper-plated No. 5 lead shot, which creates a dense, even pattern at moderate ranges and the final 40 percent of the 3rd Degree payload consists of No. 7 HEAVYWEIGHT pellets.


WON had a chance to meet up with Adam Reese, Marketing Manager for Rio Ammunition, now based out of Marshall, TX, to talk about Bismuth shot.


"Jim, we are at our new facility in Texas and are gearing up the manufacturing of more Bismuth shot for our line of high-end shotgun shells. We are very satisfied with the performance of our current shot shells and are just about ready to start loading more 12 ga. shotgun shells, plus adding a full selection of 20 ga. ammo. Dealers should have new Rio Bismuth shotgun shell ammo on their shelves by early next fall," said Reese.


This hunting editor tried to catch up with Brad Criner, shot shell product manager for Winchester, to talk about the new Long Beard XR ammo from Winchester, but was unable to find out whether this load is now compliant with California Game and Wildlife regulations. WON will follow up on this turkey load and have an update in my spring turkey forecast.


Pat McDonell's Blog

Giving back after tragedy
Paul and Susan Lebowitz lost their 18-year-old son under the most unimaginable tragedy, yet his sudden death Jan. 13 has made life possible for many others. In a selfless, generous act in the midst of the worst possible family scenario, the Lebowitzs thought of others in desperate need of organ donations after James, a freshman studying computer science at Cal Poly Pomona, died from a brain aneurysm.

As many readers are aware, Paul is an accomplished outdoor writer, wrote a column on kayaking for years, is now editor of Kayak Fish Magazine and besides being an avid fisherman, he also served in Desert Storm as a U.S. Army linguistic-voice interceptor and represented fishermen in the most thankless job of all time, as one of the SoCal Blue Ribbon Task Force reps during the long, drawn-out MLPA process. He’s an SDSU grad and an avid Aztecs basketball fan.


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SUSAN AND JAMES LEBOWITZ.  James, just 18 and a freshman at Cal Poly Pomona, passed away Jan. 13 and several of his organs, among them his heart and kidneys, were donated. Services are pending. A permanent endowment is being set up at the university in his name. Here he is pictured at his high school prom with Susan, and as a youngster at Big Bear Lake.

Like many people whom we think we know, there are parts of Paul’s life I was not aware. He had quit his full-time job as an environmental consultant to stay at home to raise his autistic son who had Asbergers Syndrome. His wife continued to work at Qualcomm while Paul worked from home as a freelance writer.


The loss of his son is devastating. They were so close, and James had come so far.


Despite being an avid reader before 1st grade, he could not write. School so overwhelmed him at first he would curl up under his desk for hours.


“As you might imagine,” said Paul, “there were some teachers and administrators who didn’t appreciate having to deal with that in a classroom,” There were huge battles over the years with officials over whether James could be mainstreamed, but with the help of dedicated occupational therapists and special education staffers in the San Diego Unified School District, he proved many experts wrong.


“He was quiet, that is for sure,” said Paul. “But you would not have known James was autistic. I was so proud of how far he had come. He was going to college, living at the dorm, he had friends and was part of the campus life and community. I don’t think even he knew how far he had come.” On a recent 9-day trip in June, Paul recalls, one of many such summer trips over the years he and James took to amusement parks around the country, he told him how proud he was of him. Such long trips centered around roller coasters and amusement parks. It started at Disneyland.


“There’s just something about Disneyland that appeals to autistic kids,” said Paul. “He loved it. Especially the roller coasters. James was always so sensitive to noises. He loved the sensation of the rides, but hated the noise of the coasters, and would plug his ears with his fingers during every ride. Over the years on all those trips, we’ve ridden 300 roller coasters. I think we were at the point where we had run out of roller coasters to visit in North America.”


On Jan. 13, there was no indication there was anything wrong just hours before in a hour-long phone call from his dorm room at Cal Poly.


“We had just spoken with him on the phone from 8:30 to 9:30, he was happy and joking with his mom,” said Paul. In the middle of the night, a call came from the hospital. His son was unresponsive. They jumped in the car from their home in San Diego. The updates came as they drove two hours north in the darkness.


“The doctor said there was a very serious bleed on the brain and they were prepping him for surgery, but that it was very iffy,” said Paul. Imagine that phone call as a parent. “Then came another call from the neurosurgeon, that the aneurysm was at the brain stem and was catastrophic.” First comes hope. Then reality. Then came deep, unrelenting grief.


The decision to donate his organs was not difficult.


“It wasn’t really a decision the way it was posed in the Facebook posts,” said Paul. “When we arrived, there was our beautiful son who looked like he’s sleeping peacefully. Of course we insisted on a second opinion from a neurosurgeon, but once he confirmed the diagnosis and left, the first surgeon came back in and said, ‘You really should consider an organ donation.’ Of course, we said yes. James was such a generous sort, a really giving, loving kid, and he would have wanted to help others to improve lives. How could we say no to that.”


Doctors left James on life support to protect his organs as it was decided they would take his lungs, heart, liver, two kidneys and pancreas. Paul and Susan had 24 hours to say goodbye “before he was taken, and really gone,” said Paul. James was on a respirator for two days while they began looking for matches on the transplant lists. That is when the agency OneLegacy called. The agency serves hundreds of SoCal hospitals. Their work ranges from organizing transplant lists, to offering grief counseling for families, helping families deal with the tragedy and organizing the movement of donated organs. Organ donation, Paul found, has many rigid protocols. But this is a new world, and the internet creates a massive circle of friends in the fishing community. Paul is part of that network as a fisherman and writer and sports fan, and OneLegacy made a suggestion.


“They told us one option was to designate specific donations, and that was when I put the call out on Facebook, to tell people to please get in touch with me as soon as possible,” said Paul. “It makes so much sense to try to help people in our circle of fishing, even if that circle of people is with people often once-removed from ours.”


For the two kidneys alone, there were six immediate requests. The key is finding a physical match. It would not be easy, as James was 6-foot-6. Paul said Randy Ladue saw the post and called his friend Tommy Gomes, owner of Catalina Offshore Products, who is also a longtime friend of Paul’s. Their friend George Martinez, an avid fisherman, was in need of a kidney. The circle of Facebook friends was in action.


Martinez was once a lead counselor for those with substance abuse at the San Diego Freedom Rancho Camp. That is how he met a recovering Tommy Gomes who told the Union-Tribune in a story last week that as a counselor Martinez “saved my life.” Martinez now works with ex-prisoners as they transition back to society.


By the next morning, doctors said the kidney was a match. Martinez received James’ kidney on Friday. Before surgery, Martinez posted on Facebook:


“OK waiting to be wheeled in to surgery. So now I have time to explain how this miracle came about. Unfortunately, James Lebowitz, an 18-year-old kid who from this point on and for the rest of my life I will call him my ‘angel,’ passed away on the morning of the 13th of an aneurysm. His dad, Paul Lebowitz, posted on Facebook about the tragedy and that he wanted his son’s organs to be donated to help others. My friends, Tommy Gomes and Randy Ladue, made contact with Paul and told him about me. Paul called me and we talked for a few minutes. He then made a decision that if his son's kidney was a match they would donate it to me. Please pray for the Lebowitz family.”


After the surgery came this message to the Lebowitz family:


“Paul and Sue, I want to let you know that all is well," Martinez wrote. "This is my second day with my angels present and all is well. As you can see sleeping is hard to come by with all these meds and all testing and checking. I keep thinking that when this is over you will allow me to sit down with you so I can learn more about my angel. Will call you guys soon. Love George."


OneLegacy did much for the Lebowitz family. Grief counseling, arranging for funeral home services. There are group therapy sessions planned. In 45 days OneLegacy will provide information on how the other organ recipients have fared. “So far so good with George,” said Paul, “and the 18-year-old boy who received James’ heart. They have to wait that long to make sure the transplants were successful.”


If one thinks making contact with the recipients would be too emotional over a long period, that is not a remote concern for Paul and Susan. ”It will be painful, but I want to keep the memory of my son alive,” said Paul. “It will be a good thing for me. I want to remember James. I still can’t believe he‘s not going to be with me the rest of my life.”


Two things Paul and Susan want to emphasize. That organ donation is done with compassion and respect. “OneLegacy proved that from the first moment with us and James that they care about their donor families is so many ways.” And they wanted to say how Cal Poly Pomona University treated their son as a member of their family. Paul doubted that talk of “family” at a university of 20,000 students when he first heard it at freshman orientation. But the way his son was cared for in the dorm and at the hospital, and then at the candlelight vigil for his son on campus — with professors, the university president and students attending, it proved it was not just talk.


“And part of this story is that through various parts of the fishing community and contacts that there really has been an outpouring of love and support that has been so heartwarming,” said Paul. He added that Facebook proved it can be a community link. “Tommy Gomes, who I have so much respect for in how he has made a second life for himself, said it right in a story by outdoor writer Ed Zieralski did a few days ago in the U-T. Tommy said that Facebook is mostly drama and BS, but those social connections really shine through when something like this happens.”


Paul said services are in the planning stages for a remembrance and paddle-out at La Jolla, with an informal shore lunch to follow, sometime in March or April. They will also arrange boats for those who prefer.


“We want to send him off in grand style with family and friends. I hope you'll come help us celebrate our lovely young man,” said Paul. “But if you can't we know your thoughts will be with us. Spreading his ashes there at least I know I will always be out there on the water with him the rest of my life.”


Endowment being set up in James Lebowitz’s name


Paul and Susan Lebowitz are working to endow a permanent annual Cal Poly scholarship in James' name and are asking people, in lieu of cards or flowers, to please consider making a donation in James' name.


The address:

In Remembrance Of James Lebowitz

Please hold for a scholarship endowment

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Gift Processing Department

3801 West Temple Ave., Pomona, CA 91768


Chris Dunn - The Fishing Weatherman

The Fishing Weatherman Report for Jan. 30, 2015
Here's this week's coastal weather video forecast...

Pat McDonell's Blog

Celebrating 100,000 Rollo kids
SATURDAY CEREMONY: FRIENDS OF ROLLO:


 Celebrating 100,000 free fishing trips for children since 1999; Saturday ceremony to be followed by historic fishing excursion for 40 youths from Father Joe’s Village and the San Diego Youth Foundation


BY PAT McDONELL

POINT LOMA -- Since 1999 almost 100,000 children have been taken fishing, free of charge, on sportboats from San Diego to Half Moon Bay as part of the Friends of Rollo foundation.


Tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 31 there is a trip aboard the sportboat Dolphin for a group of 40 children from Father Joe’s Village and the San Diego Village Youth Foundation. They will join chaperones, instructors and dignitaries in a ceremony at the dock before the 85-foot Dolphin departs Fisherman’s Landing , located on Sasn Diego Bay and Scott Street (Point Loma) to celebrate reaching that landmark number of trips.



CAPT. FRANK LOPRESTE began the foundation to take children fishing in 1991 and on Saturday, Jan. 31, the 100,000child’s free trip under the program will be recognized in a ceremony before the fishing trip on the sportfisher Dolphin.



“Taking 100,000 children, from all walks of life and all circumstances and introducing them the great sport of fishing and just being on the water is what this program has been from the start when Capt. Frank LoPreste started the foundation,” said Friends of Rollo Executive Director Jim Holden, organizer of the event at the landing on Scott Street in Point Loma.


The program begins at 10 a.m. with remarks by Lopreste, San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman, and representatives from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA, the Sportfishing Association of California and others who have supported the foundation’s efforts over the years. Father Joe will say a prayer, and with that, the children will begin their fishing trip, including the 100,000 children to enjoy a free fishing trip, the result of donations and coordination of the Foundation started by LoPreste when Capt. Rollo Heyn died in a tragic accident on the sportfisher Royal Polaris as it headed back to San Diego after a fishing trip

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“I wanted to start something that turned something horrible into a positive thing and in Rollo’s name, and with the help of donors and hardworking volunteers and our board of directors we’ve reached this incredible milestone,” said LoPreste. “This is just the start and 2015’s goals are to expand the program’s reach to nearly 100 trips on our coast.”


Executive Director Holden said the ceremony will be great fun.


“After the National Anthem by Danielle LoPresti (correct spelling, different than Frank’s) ) we’ll roll a red carpet down the gangway from the boat to the dock and to the boat and introduce our honored guest s (the children) one at time and also by number in a drawing leading up to the official 100,000th child served”.


The Dolphin will depart at 11 a.m, and return at 4 p.m.and unless official duty calls, the San Diego Harbor Patrol will provide a thrilling fire boat escort for the sportfisher, a water show with sirens to entertain the honored guests.


Holden said merely taking the children fishing is not the goal. It’s about the experience.


“Aboard will be 20 seasoned anglers who will help teach the children how to fish and help them hook up!” he said. Another corps of 20 volunteers will be providing pre-lunch snacks to the children as they fish.


Holden said several media representatives will be on hand, some of them like Rick “Rockcod” Maxa and Pete Gray of Let’s Talk Hookup (1090-AM) among the 20 “experts” on the boat, and the Fox fishing show Angler Chronicles will be on hand with producer Danny Jackson and host Sergio Fainsztein to film an episode for their popular network TV show that will air on Fox Sports West just prior to the Fred Hall Show in Long Beach. Michael Fowlkes of Inside Sportfishing just recently signed to be there with his film crew. WON will also be on hand to cover the proceedings.


For more details on the Jan. 31 event, contact Jim Holden at Friends of Rollo, (949) 285-8819. Website: wwwrollokids.org


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