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Feature Article: Rotary Club Vet Fishing Day

San Diego Rotary Club gives back with Veterans Fishing Day outing aboard Daily Double

BY BOB SEMERAU/WON Staff WriterPublished: Sep 14, 2018

POINT LOMA — Getting a break from our daily efforts is one of the great benefits of fishing. For 40 veterans living at the Veterans Village of San Diego rehabilitation center (VVSD), the break was not only an opportunity to catch fish and be on the water, but to step away for a relaxing bit of downtime.

veteransfishingdayVETERANS FISHING DAY participants pose for a group shot with banner showing donors for the event.

The brain child of Carter Shuffler, a WON charter regular, and Allen Brown (ne Braun), both San Diego-area rotary club members, the trip was a year in the making.


“We’d been looking for a way to give back that would allow maximum benefit and getting veterans out fishing was a great solution,” explained Shuffler while waiting to board at the Point Loma Sportfishing docks. “Getting together with the folks operating VVSD, hearing about the work they do to help vets that might be homeless, recovering or going through reentry made it the right thing to do.”

The bright morning at the docks was filled with laughter and excitement as the vets arrived to tunes from a trio of beauties right out of the 1940s known as the Sweethearts of Swing. The girls sang standards that traditionally went with military service in the day, lifting spirits with authentic costumes of World War II Waves.

Volunteers, including Shuffler’s wife Heather, handed out Starbucks coffee and donuts for all, donated by the local shops. Spiffy ball caps were given to all participants as well.

For this veteran outing, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife allowed a free day for the vets to fish without a license if they did not have one in possession.

Daily Double, the 65-foot sportfisher skippered be Captain Fred Huber, is the ½-day boat at Point Loma Sportfishing and was pressed into service for this outing to give a ¾-day trip for the vets. All the rental rods, tackle and bait were provided by the Rotary Club members, as was a delicious on-board breakfast and lunch and all the waters and soft drinks they wanted.

sweetheartsofswingSWEETHEARTS OF SWING entertained the veterans at the Veterans Fishing Day sponsored by San Diego Rotary Club with rousing renditions of WWII standards.

Loading up, the anglers found all the gear readied for action and racked along the sides of Daily Double, making it time for some breakfast in the roomy galley salon below.

“We’ll make a run south for about 50 minutes where we have seen some fish in recent days,” announced Capt. Huber.

At the first drop the action was slow at best, so a reset was in order. At the second anchor drop, water temps were up and several nice sand bass came over the rails and into bags to shouts and hollers of happy vets all around the boat.

Along to support the troops, Marilyn Cornell, Clinical Director at VVSD, explained how the program works at the beautiful campus near the old MCRD location.

“We try to bring in any veteran in need. Our idea is to develop ALL of the skillsets needed to return these people back into society, providing them with a sense of family while they are here along with needed services,” says Ms. Cornell, quite the fisherwoman herself. While at the rail, Ms. Cornell boated a larger model halibut for one of the big fish of the day.

Seated in a wheeled chair at the rail, Horace Witney managed his share of the catch with a few good-sized sandies of his own, as did most of the anglers aboard for this adventure.

captainhuberleftCAPTAIN HUBER, LEFT, unhooks a sand bass for veteran Horace Witney, seated, while other vets look on.

But big fish honors went to Steve Fountain for a massive 30-plus-pound yellowtail taken on a fly-lined sardine at the back of the boat. Fountain fought the fish well with a 20-minute battle needed to best the beast.

With the call for lines up one last time the excellent crew went to work filleting fish for the vets to take back to the VVSD grounds, and the awaiting hot grill.

“We plan to expand the program to include even more worthy veterans next year, and for as long as there is a need here in the San Diego area,” says Rotarian Carter Shuffler. “Adding more boats and more time on the water are two of the goals we will work toward for coming events.”


Veterans Village of San Diego, VVSD

4141 Pacific Highway

San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 393-2000

Point Loma Sportfishing

1403 Scott St.

San Diego, CA 92106

(619) 223-1627

Sweethearts of Swing

Point Loma Rotary Club (San Diego)
P.O. Box 6454
San Diego, CA 92166



VETERAN STEVE FOUNTAIN (left) shows some love for the yellowtail he bested with the help of Daily Double cook, Robert (right).

anothersandieANOTHER SANDIE FOR Gary Wallick, left, with deckhand Matt. Veteran Wallick landed a good catch of sand bass and a few sculpin to boot.

BIG HALIBUT FOR VVSD Clinical Director, Marilyn Cornell, left, shown here by deckhand Matt.

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