OCEANSIDE — By 11:30 Sunday morning, the dock on the south side of Oceanside Harbor was packed with military families anticipating an all day deep-sea fishing trip.
Sporting shade hats and sunglasses, families from Camp Pendleton boarded the charter fishing boat and headed out to catch calico bass and rockfish. Some families had fished before and for others it was their first time out.
“It will be a good time with lots of other kids,” Courtney Davenport, Camp Pendleton mom of four and avid fisher said. “It’s the anticipation of all being together for fun.”
The Oceanside Anglers club coordinated the trip with 75 military dads, moms and kids from Camp Pendleton Armed Services YMCA.
“We want to keep fishing alive,” Randy Crowell, president of the Oceanside Anglers Club, said. “To teach the younger generation how to fish. It’s about camaraderie, closeness and the excitement of what’s on the end of the line.”
On board volunteers from the anglers club helped bait hooks and showed those new to fishing the basics.
“We teach them how to tie knots, how to be safe on the boat and still have fun,” club volunteer Mile Bardin said.
At the end of the day, boys and girls got to take home what they caught and their new fishing poles.
The anglers club also organizes fishing trips for military families at Lake O’Neill in Camp Pendleton. Like the deep-sea fishing trip, volunteers teach those new to fishing the ropes and each kid gets to take home a new fishing pole.
“The past fishing trips have been great,” Samantha Holt, director of programs for Armed Services YMCA, said. “Kids have said ‘I hope we do it every year. I love it.’”
Most of the lake fishing is catch and release due to the small size of the fish stocked in the lake.
Catches from the deep-sea fishing trip were big enough to take home to cook and eat.
The deep-sea fishing trip also gave military families a day together and fish stories to share.
“The value is time parents spend with their children,” Holt said. “Catching a fish, that’s a bonus.”