Fishing on an empty stomach is never a good idea so the Cerritos Rod and Gun Club along with Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors served up a hearty pancake breakfast to over 2,000 young anglers and their families in the annual on Saturday.
Anglers and their families arrived as early as 5:30 a.m. -- in some cases to pick out a prime fishing spot that by 7 a.m. had become a rare commodity. The annual event is sponsored by Knabe and the Cerritos Rod and Gun Club, and supervised by The California Department of Fish and Game.
The annual derby has become so popular in recent years that it now draws kids from neighboring communities, and Knabe and the sponsors couldn’t be more pleased.
Originally started by the Cerritos Rod and Gun Club this derby is intended to expose kids to a new fishing experience, and have a fun day with their families.
“Fishing is like the arts,” Knabe said. “Once you get them hooked, they're hooked for life.”
The derby is open to kids 5-15 years-old, but it was obvious that some young fisherman were at different expertise levels. Representatives from the Department of Fish and Game along with their volunteers made sure they brought everyone up to speed, offering free clinics that taught kids how to bait and cast, education about fish ecology, and the importance of being an ethical angler.
“We want to promote being active, and going outside rather than just staying indoors,” said Brian Young, Fishing in the City Coordinator for the Department of Fish and Game. “When people stop going outside and exploring they forget the importance of having a clean environment.”
For those young fisherman that lacked the patience for fishing, Cerritos Parks and Recreation had an arts and crafts booth set up as a change of pace for the kids.
Once all the dust settled, kids went home happy catching a lot of fish, and others got a trophy for placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in their respective age group. The big winner of the day was 14-year-old La Puente resident Manuel Mora of La Puente for catching a 2.9-pound catfish which was biggest catch in the derby.
“I’ve been fishing before, but this is the biggest fish I’ve ever caught,” said Mora. “I want to thank my dad for showing me how to fish.”
Mora’s cousin Monique Caballero also placed first in the 10-12 year-old group with a fish that was just 2 ounces lighter than Mora’s.