LONG BEACH – Gracie Veith reeled in a 3 pound 4 ounce bat ray to secure the top spot in the SoCal Tuna Club’s 62nd Annual Kids Fishing Rodeo at the Belmont Pier, Aug. 1.
More than 600 children congregated on the six-decade old pier, including busloads of about 250 kids from Long Beach Parks and Recreation, to celebrate a day of angling and giveaways. But it was the 11-year old Long Beach native who captured the largest catch. Lovely Garra, 8, of Norwalk took the second spot, catching a 2 pound 15 ounce skate. Sebastion Gearin, 11, also of Norwalk, reeled in a 1 pound 11 ounce bat ray to grab third.
Nine different species of sea life were caught throughout the day as kids competed for the prizes awarded for the largest fish landed in each species. The catches included: halibut, mackerel, sand bass, sculpin, skate, calico bass, smelt, lizard fish, croaker, crabs and sea snails.
Some participants brought their own personal fishing gear, but the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was also on hand to distribute 65 rods. Children came from cities all around Southern California, including Paramount, Whitter and Riverside. A tackle raffle was provided by Fred Hall Fishing, and each participant was eligible to win one of two bicycles donated by Deep Blue Scuba and Swim in Long Beach.
The most unusual trophy was handed out to Christian Duran of West Covina who caught a pair of sea snails.