OCEANSIDE — The fish were hardly biting, but that didn’t stop the kids from having a day of fun at the second annual kids fishing derby Aug. 6, sponsored by the Pier Bait Shop, United Pier and Shore Anglers of California, and International Game and Fishing Association.
Kids ages 6 to 16 baited their hooks and cast their lines off the Oceanside Pier in hopes of reeling in a good size croaker, corbina or halibut.
“Not really any bites,” said Joseph di Pietro, 10, of Oceanside. “The ocean is beautiful.”
Young fishermen scored points for each fish caught based on the type of fish and its size. A panel of 10 experienced fishermen from Oceanside Senior Anglers judged and recorded the catches.
“There was a lot of bait being given to the fish and a lot of hooks and sinker caught on the pier,” said Ed Gonsalves, co-owner with his wife Pam Gonsalves of the Pier Bait Shop. “It was a lot of fun.”
Many boys and girls brought their own poles. There were also 50 loaner poles on hand for newcomers to the sport. Volunteers helped with instructions on how to bait, cast and untangle lines.
“We try to show them how to work the fishing reel,” Gonsalves said. “And show them how to cast away from the pier.”
“It’s nice for the fishing illiterate,” said Ed Gonsalves Jr., of Riverside, who fished with his 8-year-old son Derek. “It’s our second time fishing here. We fished last year, too.”
Ed Gonsalves senior said he and his wife estimated 20 kids would compete last year and 100 boys and girls showed up for the first fishing derby. This year they prepared 200 prize bags filled with fishing goodies so that every child could go home with something.
“We’ve been open for four years and want to give back to the community,” Gonsalves said. “It’s a great family thing. To see a young kid catch a fish is pretty neat.”
The Pier Bait Shop is located midway down Oceanside Pier. A fishing license is not required to fish on the pier.