Six-Pound Carp Lands The Top Prize At Inaugural L.A. River Fly Fishing Derby
On Saturday the organization Friends of the Los Angeles River hosted the inaugural Off tha' Hook fly fishing derby, and the prize for the biggest catch went to a fish that clocked in at over six pounds.
While the 23-inch, 6 pounds, 3 ounce carp caught by Matus Sobolic of Altadena might not be the biggest fish in more pristine waters elsewhere, the fly fishing competition was considered a success otherwise. At the very least, Off tha' Hook brought people out to North Atwater Park to celebrate and utilize Los Angeles' most underappreciated natural resource, and provided biologist Rosi Dagit an opportunity to catalog the fish of the Los Angeles River. "We're creating a fishing experience that is also about science," she told the LA Times.
"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," wrote Jim Burns on his blog lariverflyfishing.
Burns was member of a 'bucket brigade' that provided Dagit with most of the specimens she cataloged yesterday. The data collected yesterday will be used in an addendum to a 2008 study, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
The competition is just one part of a recent effort to revive the oft-ignored urban waterway, which includes activities such as a boat race, camp-out, and kayak expeditions. "We want to promote good stewardship along the river. We want to bring awareness that there is fishing in the L.A. River," William Bowling of Friends of the Los Angeles told the Glendale News-Press. FotLAR
Off tha' Hook was scheduled to land on one of the two "Free Fishing Days" of the year when the California Department of Fish and Wildlife waives license requirements to encourage novices to try the activity. The event was catch-and-release, and participants were not allowed to use barbed hooks or live bait. Some anglers used tortilla chunks.
In addition to largest catch, anglers competed to catch the most fish and land the most exotic catch. Andy Wilcox of Eagle Rock took the trophy for most fish, with a grand total of two largemouth bass less than 8 inches each. "I guess that’s all it takes to win a fishing tournament in downtown Los Angeles," he said.
Roland Trevino came up empty-handed, but still had a great time: "I haven't caught anything, just a lot of sun. Events like today are terrific. You blot out the freeway, and it's very serene and peaceful."