Well, the first Off Tha’ Hook fishing derby is in the books, and, man, participants got into some fish. In the true sprint of a derby, the number of fish caught, not length or weight, determined the winners. (Drumroll, please)
Fly-fisher Matus Solobic nailed three fish, a meaty carp and two largemouth bass. Next, fly-fisher Andy Wilcox caught three bass, two at seven inches. Finally, from the kids’ derby, Jayson Zwalen, nabbed two bass.
The bucket brigade (me included) hauled much of what got caught to biologist Rosie Dagit, who weighed and measured the fish, before releasing them back to the river.
But the real winner was the river, as well as the people who want to fish it. To see 25 anglers going for it on this hot and humid morning was, frankly, something I never thought I’d see. So much community, good times, real fun.
I finally got to meet in person many anglers I’d only known through this blog. And I made a lot of new friends as well.
And Friends of the Los Angeles River Lewis MacAdams said the organization will host it again next year.
Hot as blazes in L.A. today and tomorrow is the first fishing derby on the Los Angeles River. So, if you haven’t registered yet, click this link and get in! There are only 25 spots for anglers, and 25 spots for youngsters. Anglers cost $35; kids are free. You don’t even need a fishing license! The reason Friends of the L.A. River picked this day is because it is one of only two days during the year that the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife doesn’t require one.
If you’re an angler, bring your own gear, and I’d bring a rod for both small and big fish. I haven’t spotted carp recently, but there have been plenty of what we’ll call smallmouth bass, tilapia and green sunfish. Also, you can wade, so bring your waders, and maybe a wading pole for more support on those slippery rocks. Fishing will be from 9 a.m.-10 a.m., with volunteers helping you get your catch to a biologist to measure and catalog before being returned alive to the river.
Water at its deepest, I’d guesstimate at 4 feet.
Now, if you’re bringing your children, remember they get in free, but you’ll need to sign a guardian waiver, which is on the registration page. The big-hearted folks at the Los Angeles Rod and Reel Club have donated all of the rods and reels, so basically all you have to do to get your children some water time is register and show up at 10 a.m. Remember, anglers from the derby will be on hand to teach the kids. I know, it’s a pretty sweet deal.
There will be a food truck on hand to satisfy our appetites.
What kind of fish might you catch on our river? My photos are missing a few species, but here we go: