Thousands of Southern California anglers converged on the home of San Diego's famous local and long-range sportfishing fleet for a fun and educational celebration of fishing known as "Day at the Docks." This popular event was produced by the San Diego Sportfishing Council, with support from the San Diego Unified Port District and the County of San Diego.
This year's event on Sunday, April 19 marked the 30th Anniversary for the venerable fishing festival, a Southern California institution that serves to whet anglers' appetites for summer arrival of bass, yellowtail, barracuda, bonito, tuna, dorado and more. The centerpiece of this anticipated event is the array of San Diego's world-class sportfishing boats, from local 1/2-day boats to luxury long-rangers that take anglers on 21-day excursions for wild wahoo and potential world-record yellowfin tuna.
This event is like a special "open house" aboard many of these boats, offering fishermen the chance to tour the vessels, meet the captains and crews and discuss upcoming fishing trips and opportunities. Some of the boats even took groups out on rides on the beautiful and expansive San Diego Bay. The event is a great way for newcomers to get more comfortable with the idea of an ocean fishing trip. It is also ideal for experienced long-range anglers looking to plan their trip of a lifetime.
Another traditional big draw for Day at the Docks is the full schedule of free fishing seminars. This year's event featured a busy slate of seminars where top experts shared their secrets on everything from fishing techniques, gear selection, knots and rigging to boating safety, cooking and sushi preparation. The Kid's Fishing Adventure is another perennial highlight of Day at the Docks, allowing youngsters to hook and land a feisty mackerel. Many youngsters dipped their line into the dockside pen and reeled in their first fish ever.
Other highlights of this popular event included exhibits from a wide variety of tackle, marine and outdoor-related companies that provided an opportunity for visitors to learn about the latest and greatest gear and activities. Thousands of dollars worth of fishing items donated by sportfishing boat owners, exhibitors and area businesses were raffled off during the day with proceeds going to the San Diego Burn Institute. West Marine, and Anglers' Legacy sponsor, donated an Advanced Marine Inflatable boat valued at $3,100.
In the food court, Tommy Gomes of Catalina Offshore Products and his team of helpers manned Tommy's Fish Taco Stand, raising $2,500 for the Monarch School. This worthy cause provides an accredited education to homeless and at-risk kids while caring for their basic needs. And in an impressive display of good sportsmanship, popular San Diego Captain Andy Cates took repeated cold-water dunkings in the "Capsize the Captain" booth, raising money for the Friends of Rollo Youth Fishing Program.
Anglers don't have to wait until next spring's Day at the Docks if they want to learn about local, overnight and long-range fishing opportunities out of San Diego. Just visit the informational website set up at www.sportfishing.org.