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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

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IGFA Launches Passports to Fishing Kits in Baja
Last week I was invited to attend the 4th Annual Grand Gastronomic Fishing Tournament (Cuarto Gran Torneo de Pesca Gastronomico), which was held June 1 in conjunction with the city-wide celebration of the Seventh Festival Gastronomico de Almeja Chocolata. A “Let’s Talk Hookup” broadcast was scheduled for Saturday morning as well.

I joined the Sportfishing Association of California (SAC) team including Jeronimo De Silva, SAC Coordinator; Dan Malcolm, San Diego Port Commissioner; Rick Maxa, Let’s Talk Hookup Host along with Dallas Shackleton; and Sharon Cloward, President of San Diego Port Tenants Association.


fridaymorning
FRIDAY MORNING, 131 kids had signed up to compete. The weather was Baja’s best and the families enjoyed the day filled with occasional bites and an interesting assortment of rockfish, cabrilla and small grouper for the kids to pull on.

Recently, as part of its 80th Anniversary, the International Game Fish Association, (IGFA), announced a pledge to teach 100,000 kids from around the world to fish and they officially launched their new “Passports to Fishing Kits,” with hands-on tools to assist in reaching that goal.


The concept of Passports to Fishing is a system of clinics that is specifically designed for young anglers and their families, and it allows them to become acquainted with sportfishing as they bond with others in their community who share a similar interest.


Upon registering, participants receive an IGFA “Passport.” Then each child visits the various stations where he or she learns the basics on tackle, knot tying, conservation, casting, safety, as well as the importance of protecting and conserving the resources for future generations.


Their Passports are stamped as they complete each station and once all stations have been completed successfully, each child receives a rod and reel to use for the day and is free to fish under the supervision of the trained staff and volunteers.


As an IGFA Rep for Baja, I wanted to be certain that the kids in Baja were part of these clinics. So, with the help of my friend Clicerio Mercado, an organizer of tournaments in Cabo San Lucas, we had the Passport Kits shipped and delivered to Gonzalo Alamea Camacho, coordinator of all of the SEPADA sports fishing tournament series, no-frills tournaments for families as well as coordinator for Fonmar. It was Gonzalo who picked us up at the airport in Loreto when we arrived.


laterthatevening
LATER THAT EVENING at the Registration for the 4th Annual Grand Gastronomic Fishing Tournament, prizes were awarded for the largest fish in all the different age categories.


As we drove into town, to my surprise, Gonzalo explained that the Passport Kit arrived in time to implement the clinic as part of the festivities, and just before the Gran Tournament. So, he was able to organize the Kid’s event along with the clinic at the Tournament, kicking off the International Game Fish Association’s Passport to the sportfishing program in Baja — the first of its kind to be used in Baja.


By the time we arrived, the clinic was already underway!


After depositing my bags in my spacious room at La Misión Hotel on the Malecon overlooking the sparkling Sea of Cortez, I grabbed my camera, and fast-paced it a few blocks to where the clinic was taking place near the Marina.


The Palapa-covered meeting area was decorated with IGFA and Children’s Clinic banners in Spanish. Both kids and parents were paying close attention to the local Captains who had volunteered to crew the different stations which had fishing rods and other paraphernalia piled high. Kids of all ages surrounded the Captains, eager to hear the lessons being presented.


Gonzalo, clutching his microphone, taught a long line of kids one-by-one on how to dehook a fish using a rubber halibut to demonstrate the technique.


Laughter, cheers, and screeches filled the air as the kids moved from station to station having their passports stamped when the lesson was completed while proud parents with cellphones in hand photographed the moment. Lines threaded through the guides of the brand-new sparkling fishing rods and reels. Knot- tying was demonstrated inside and outside on the beach, there were casting lessons. By the end of the evening, 85 children had completed all the lessons and were prepared for the next day’s fishing, which was for the entire family on the jetty surrounding the marina.


palapacovered
THE PALAPA-COVERED meeting area was decorated with IGFA and Children’s Clinic banners in Spanish.


Friday morning, 131 kids had signed up to compete. The weather was Baja’s best and the families enjoyed the day filled with occasional bites and an interesting assortment of rockfish, cabrilla and small grouper for the kids to pull on.


Later that evening at the Registration for the 4th Annual Grand Gastronomic Fishing Tournament, prizes were awarded for the largest fish in all the different age categories.


Gonzalo, the volunteer Captains, and all the other volunteers praised the Kit, commenting that the information that was included — the lesson plans, the you-tube videos, and the ample signing and banners — all were a tremendous help.


Underscoring the effectiveness of the Passport Kit was the fact that Gonzalo plans to include the Kids Clinic and Tournaments in all of the Dos Mares events planned for the upcoming year.


One Captain speaking for the entire group added, “We all had a great time teaching, and the kids seemed to have as much fun learning!”


“Children are the key to the future of recreational angling. It's vitally important that we get them out on the water and teach them how to be ethical and responsible anglers at a young age,” said IGFA President Nehl Horton.


In recognition of its 80th anniversary, IGFA announced plans for the inaugural IGFA Day on June 7, 2019, to celebrate recreational angling and galvanize its international network of supporters around the world.


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