BERKLEY — IGFA-UPSAC's Young Angler fishing event held at Berkeley Pier on June 23, the first of the season, saw beautiful weather, a nice turnout of kids, and quite a few fish, even if they were of the super-small category and were mostly bullheads (staghorn sculpin). One of the assistants even suggested the event be called the “Bullhead Classic” in honor of the large number caught by the participants.
However, judging by the smiles and the good-natured vibes of the participants, the size and type of fish was of little concern. More important was having some fun, using the free loaner tackle and free bait, enjoying the free lunch, and having a chance at one of the numerous raffle prizes. Of course each age group winner also received a trophy, IGFA certificate, and a copy of the book, "Pier Fishing in California" written by Ken Jones, UPSAC's President.
The venue was the Berkeley Pier, the iconic 3,000 foot-long pier that was the first of more than 100 public piers in California. The bay was full of boats, the sky was full of fluffy clouds, the San Francisco skyline and Marin County hills sparkled with the sun reflecting off the windows in the distance, and the fish, even if small (jacksmelt, perch, and bullheads), seemed to provide squeals of laughter and fun for the crowd of roughly 75 people.
As for the participants, every age group except one had a winner. The winners: (6-year-old) — Tie, Angel Baca and Fiona Klyashchitsky; (7-year-old) — Kimberly Biermann; (8-year-old) — Luke Zhao; (9-year-old) — Joshua Klyashchitsky; (10-year-old) Larry Zhao; (11-year-old)—Tie, Hans Jones Jr. and Jordan Mook; (12-year-old) Thomas Orozco; (14-year-old) — Tie, Brendan Linebarger and Katie Springer; (15-year-old) — Cassi Ortiz.
Joining the hosts of the event, IGFA-UPSAC, were Carrie Wilson and Mary Patyten from the California Fish and Game Department, who passed out a variety of posters and books, including the California Fishing Passport Booklets, and then stamped the booklets as the kids caught each variety of species.
Primary UPSAC volunteers were Ken Jones, Brian Linebarger, James Liu, Robert Gardner, and Hans Jones. For more information on UPSAC and how you can volunteer, go to http://upsac.org/
THE FISH WEREN’T BIG, but the smiles were, and that’s all that counts in the IGFAS events. There are several planned in the state, starting with the Berkley turnout.