BY DAVE HURLEY
ANTIOCH – The weekend of October 14 was a big weekend for the California Striped Bass Association (CSBA) with the success of the West Delta Chapter’s 35th Annual Kid’s Derby along with the involvement of the Isleton Chapter at the 75th Anniversary of the Rio Vista Bass Derby and Festival. California Striped Bass Association (CSBA) originated with a chapter in Stockton, California on April 14, 1974, and remains the oldest freshwater fishing organization in the state of California. Their motto, ‘Dedicated to the Preservation, conservation and Enhancement of Striped Bass’ means that although sport fishing is enjoyed, the organization’s mission is to protect and enhance our fishery to ensure future generations will have a chance of catching this great sport fish.
Over the past five decades, participation in CSBA rose starting with the original chapter in Stockton, growing to chapters in Modesto, Sacramento, Rio Vista, Lodi, Antioch, Fresno, and Ukiah before slowly decreasing to the current state of chapters in West Delta (Antioch), Isleton (Rio Vista), Stockton, and Modesto. Although participation in the organization has declined over the years, their presence remains a positive factor as evidenced by the past weekend.
The West Delta Chapter held their annual Kid’s Fishing Derby at the Waldie Plaza Public Fishing Pier, aka’s ‘Compy’s Fishing Pier,’ on Saturday, October 14th. The annual derby is eld in memory of the late Antioch resident ‘Compy” Compomizzo,’ who inspired the mission statement: ‘Get kids hooked on fishing, not drugs or gangs.” The fishing derby provides the opportunity to teach kids fifteen and younger about conservation and the basics of fishing. 102 youth ages 4 through 15 congregated on the pier from 9:00 a.m. through noon in search of the largest fish in three categories: 4 through 7; 8 through 11; and 12 through 15. The top three finishers receive a rod/reel combination along with a tackle box in addition to their medal. After the award ceremony, youth are hosted for a hot dog lunch along with a huge raffle for the families. The event takes a number of dedicated volunteers working well before the day of the event as well as during the event. Loaner rods were provided by the City of Antioch as well as tackle and bait from the chapter. Longtime outgoing chapter president Roger Mammon said, “There is nothing like seeing the smiles of so many children on our fishing pier, and the participation of the families with their children in this great sport is a highlight for our chapter and its members. We had 30 more participants over last year, and we were supported by more than 50 sponsors including West Marine of Pittsburg, Black Bear Diner, Hook, Line, and Sinker in Oakley, and Gotcha Bait in Antioch. The California Inland Fisheries Foundation Inc. also came through as a major sponsor this year. Compy worked hard to make this pier special for children by removing snags and cleaning the area around the pier, and our goal is to get rods/reels in the hands of children.” As evidence of the lasting effect of enthusiasm of the event, 5-year-old Rashaad Bess of El Cerrito arrived wearing his medal from a previous Kid’s Derby along with his previously won rod/reel combination.”
Also on the agenda over the weekend was the 75th Rio Vista Bass Derby, and the Isleton Chapter is responsible for measuring of striped bass and sturgeon in the Adult Division along with striped bass and catfish in the Youth Division. The Isleton Chapter was instrumental in the transition from the largest fish derby to a target-length derby several years ago, and this year’s target-length striped bass was 26.75 inches. In one of the closest competitions in memory, Austin Todd took home $4000 with his 26.72-inch lineside while Brent Ramsey pocketed $1500 for his striper at 27.70 inches – only 0.02 inches smaller than the winner. In the Kid’s Derby, every participant went home with a prize. Another highlight of the weekend was the dedication of a plaque in memory of the late longtime CSBA member, Captain Barry Canevaro, at the Rio Vista Municipal Boat Launch. A bench and plaque in memory of CSBA’s founder, California Outdoors Hall of Fame member ‘Jolly’ Jay Sorensen, will be dedicated at the De Carli Plaza in downtown Stockton in early April 2024. Sorensen was the catalyst for the founding of the first chapter in Stockton in April 1974.
Although overall participation in CSBA has declined over the decades, this past weekend demonstrates that their work remains viable, particularly in attracting and encouraging youth to become involved in fishing in the West Coast’s largest estuary, the California Delta.