Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's about the kids

The purpose of the day was not to make the kids compete, but to let them enjoy fishing as a sport. We don't give prizes; we give kids a good time. 
Playas de Tijuana…a beach more famous for contraband under the cover of darkness than family outings, a beach where the roar of the surf was seldom penetrated by the exuberant, unbridled laughter of parents and and hotdogs offspring as they fished and frolicked while soaking up the sun or gorging on burgers . 

The outing resulted from an inspiration of a band of three young Mexican fathers - Juan Flores, Martin Banos and Eddie Rodriguez- and now in its third year, it has grown to include many members of the popular Spanish fishing forum.

Taking their cue from the popular annual national holiday,  El Día Del Niño (Day of the Child), which began in 1925 and grew into an annual celebration of the children…a tribute to their importance in society and endorsing their well being throughout Mexico.

That holiday and date seemed like a perfect match for Llevame a Pescar where dads and families could introduce their children to a family fishing adventure on the beach. This turned out to be a wildly popular idea that has now become an annual affair.

Like years before everyone pitched in to make sure that there were plenty of  fishing rods, tackle and bait for every child. Plus, T-shirts were provided for each participant commemorating the event.

As the stubborn marine layer melted away on the morning of May 1st, keyed up kids huddled around their parents eagerly watching as the tackle was rigged and hooks baited. Then clutching their rods, they sprinted across the wet sand toward the hissing surf with their Moms and Dads hustling to keep up.

The bright sun framed by blue skies warmed the parents who became teachers and guides for their kids as they fished, mostly catching small barred surf perch.  Patient instruction, smiles and laughter were the morning's currency. When a few tears of frustration appeared they were quickly brushed away

Buenapesca volunteers pitched in helping the kids cast, untangling lines, and cheering the kids on as they balanced desire and caution in the gentle rolling surf while encouraging catch and release; still they found a few minutes here and there to fish themselves.

When the - sun, sea, sportfishing - became overwhelming there were canopy-covered tables loaded with art supplies where the exhausted kids could retreat. 

Of course no trip to the beach would be complete without plenty of food and in a Mexican version of pot luck the tables beneath the canopies were overloaded with more than enough food for everyone with Buenapesca volunteers cooking and serving.

The most anticipated Cerviche contest was not only popular but tasty as well and everyone enjoyed sampling the various concoctions entered. After the last tortilla chip laden with cerviche had been devoured, the judges convened and Juan Zuno was declared the winner of this year's contest.

The volunteers of this event, mostly Tijuana residents, have demonstrated their passion for sportfishing and the willingness to share with their neighbors and friends. From conception to execution the group has worked tirelessly to offer a hands-on experience demonstration that catching fish is not just a commercial enterprise without any social merit, instead that sportfishing is a family affair that blends well with Mexican family traditions.

Speaking we give kids a good time.for the Mexican sport fishermen who sponsored the event, Juan Flores commented, "The purpose of the day was not to make the kids compete, but to let them enjoy fishing as a sport. We don't give prizes; "