It was the perfect setting for the annual Huck Finn Fishing Derby on the Huntington Pier Saturday, a gorgeously hot day that drew hundreds of thousands to Southern California beaches. Nearly 300 participants, volunteers and others showed up to lead the City of Huntington Beach derby, and the Huck Finn-Becky Thatcher costume contest.
It didn't take long, however, for some bad feelings to develop. Many surfers saw the anglers on the pier as infringing on their sacred territory--waves--and they were not about to let it happen.
Seven-year-old Gracie Veith from Long Beach thought a big fish had pulled her rod over the side. It turned out to be a disgruntled surfer.
“My little girl lost her rod and reel,” said her indignant father, Don Veith. “I don't know why they (surfers) can't just give us a break for the kids derby.”
Witnesses including other fathers, a wheelchair-bound aunt who had escorted her nephew from Minnesota and several others, say surfers in the water cut several lines but also, on this YouTube, shouted profane insults at people fishing.
California Department of Fish and Game personnel observed two surfers storm onto the pier pitching a fight with one Dad, although there was no official to make a statement that day.
Watch as another father, Veith, reports indignantly that his daughter's entire rod and reel were yanked off the pier and into the waves.
It appeared no arrests or citations were issued, but the law prohibits interfering with someone engaged in lawful fishing.
Patch fishing and waterfront blogger Phil Friedman was on scene, witnesed the shouting and profanity from surfers in the waves--though not the reel yanking-- and provides this video report. He will be talking about this topic on Phil Friedman Outdoors Radio tonight, with some of those on scene calling in. If you miss the live broadcast, you can always listen to the archived radio shows for free anytime.
If you were present that day and have video footage, post it here and let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org