Joe Cordero is convinced that many inexperienced anglers shun sportfishing boats because they are embarrassed to display their ignorance of such essentials as bait, tackle, casting, hooks and lures.
An ardent fisherman himself, Cordero decided to lend a hand and has developed a simple, four-session class called "Beginning Sportfishing," offered through the Dana Point Harbor Youth and Group Facility.
"Sportfishing is my main interest and is how and why I got into boating," says Cordero, who is facilities manager at Newport Harbor Yacht Club. "My objective is to give students a solid background in local sportfishing. I organized this course so that they can learn how to enjoy their day and bring home a few fish, instead of getting frustrated."
A native New Yorker with a degree from New York State Maritime College, Cordero, 29, has been fishing since he was 8 and has worked as both skipper and crew aboard private boats and public sportfishing boats.
"You can't learn to fish out of a book," he says. "You've got to go do it."
That's why Cordero's course culminates in an actual sportfishing trip. During the most recent trip in November, students caught bonita, barracuda and bass. Most important, according to Cordero, everyone had a great time.
"One father and son said they had never had a better day," he recalled. "Others said that after the course, they didn't feel intimidated any more."
Although the group sportfishing trip is the highlight of the course, Cordero also teaches his students how to plan and prepare for a fishing trip from a pier. Even more important than tackle, bait, rods and reels is the weather, Cordero says.
"With pier fishing," he says, "weather is the most important consideration. Many days are ruined by bad weather--too hot, too cold, too windy, too rainy. And people aren't dressed or otherwise prepared for it."
Weather is also a major consideration in planning a sportfishing trip aboard a boat, he says. Miserable weather can mean a miserable trip. Also important is choosing the right boat. "Often you can have two or more boats leaving at the same time, from the same landing, at the same price," he says, "but the boats are entirely different. One may have more room, cleaner toilets, better facilities and a more knowledgeable skipper." Cordero suggests taking a look at the boat before you buy your ticket.
Other topics covered in the class include: Baiting the hook, tying knots, casting, setting the hook and the use of artificial lures.
Cordero's next class will begin at a date to be announced in January. He will teach one class each month through May. Pre-registration is required. The course fee is $18, not including the boat trip. Details about the boat trip will be decided in class, according to Cordero, and will depend upon students' schedules and desires. (A half-day sportfishing trip aboard a 65-foot boat out of Dana Point costs $17 per person. A three-quarter day costs $25. In Newport Beach, a half-day costs $18 per person; a three-quarter day costs $29.)
Information about the class is available by calling Dana Point Harbor Youth and Group Facility at (714) 661-7122.
Sailor's Delight--During the 19th Century, when Navy sailors spent weeks or months at sea, they often passed the time by creating embroidered portraits of ships. Called Woolies, they have become highly prized collector's items. And you will have a rare opportunity to see more than 30 of them this month at Richard Yeakel Antiques in Laguna Beach.
Putting together such an exhibit was no easy task, according to Yeakel. Over the years, individual Woolies were passed down from generation to generation, remaining in family hands. Relatively few come on the market, he says.
The Woolies exhibit, which opened Thursday, will continue through the end of the month at 1099 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. Phone (714) 494-5526.