SANTA BARBARA — A perfect day was on tap for the annual Kids Fishing Derby held Saturday June 30, 2012 at Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara.
By the 10 a.m. start to the fishing tourney more than 100 entrants had signed up and received a designated fishing number. Most checked in at the end of the wharf to register, while some had pre-registered at the retail store of local sponsor, West Marine.
Plenty of kids brought along their own rod and reel but just in case more than 50 set ups were provided by sponsors including several from Stearns Wharf Bait and Tackle owner, Frank Drew.
Once tourney director Bill Hopper announced that the 10 a.m. start time had arrived fishing began in earnest. To get things going, local FishTalkRadio personality and Kids Derby sponsor, John Henigin, scooped several buckets of ground ‘chovie chum into the water around the end of Stearns Wharf.
Immediately participating kids of all ages began lining up to have their fish, mackerel for the most part, measured by long time Derby backer, Mike Moropoulos. Almost 350 fish would be taped during the two hour effort. Many of the kids participating were checking in with the first fish they’d ever caught.
PAT MOROPOULOS, left, and Mike Moropoulos, right, measured each fish brought to the judging table.
“That’s why we do this every year,” explained Moropoulos during a brief break in the action. “Some of these kids are new to fishing and some come out every year and we see them time and again. It’s just great to have them tell us they have been fishing over the year since the last Derby,” concluded Moropoulos.
The Vidal Family travels to Santa Barbara from Tucson, Arizona each summer. “We come out for the Derby and everybody has lots of fun,“ said Mrs. Vidal while the kids were baiting-up. The Vidal contingent of 6 kids signed up to vie for prizes which included matched rod and reel combos donated by West Marine, trips aboard local sportfisher Stardust and legendary ice cream from McConnells.
KIDS FISHING DERBY brings out families for a day of fun in the sun. The Vidal family, pictured with all six kids, came out from Tucson, Arizona to join the event.
West Marine store manager Nancy Farr brought along a contingent of associates to help with Derby duties. Some handled sign-ins while other supporters passed out loaner rods and assisted with rigging lines and keeping track of the catch as it arrived at the judging table. “We’re giving out raffle tickets for each fish the kids bring to the table. Most of the fish are released,” explained store manager Farr.
When the last fish had been measured and the tale of the tape tallied, the crowd gathered ‘round, while Bill Hopper called out raffle prize winners. Three categories of entrants could qualify for big fish prizes by age group.
Winners included August Baxis from Santa Barbara who took home prizes for big fish overall with a 13” mackerel. Prizes included a $100 certificate for fishing aboard Stardust out of nearby Sea Landing in Santa Barbara, a rod and reel from West Marine and more. Ashley Drew won in the 12-15 age bracket with a slightly shorter mackerel at 12¾” to also win a valuable prize package.
ASHLEY DREW, with Dad, Frank Drew, won first place in her age division at the SB Kids Fishing Derby. Frank Drew was a major supporter of the event through his Stearns Wharf Bait and Tackle shop.
Other prize winners included nine-year-old Marisol Manzo, Michelle and Paloma Ruiz and many more. Condor Express, Stardust Sportfishing, The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, McConnell’s Ice Cream, The Santa Barbara Sailing Center and Wilson Printing all provided additional prizes and support for the free community event.
MARISOL MANZO, 9, WON for the largest fish to be taped in her age bracket.