“Fishing with the Judge” Attracts Large Crowds – Port Isabel-South Padre Press
By Gaige Davila
Returning to a Port Isabel of yesteryear, Cameron County Judge Benito Ochoa IV hosted the first annual “Fishing with the Judge” event last Saturday.
Hundreds of children and parents marched to the Pirate’s Landing fishing pier on June 12, rods and bait in hand, most provided by Ochoa. Over 200 fishing rods and 200 t-shirts were distributed to participants.
Texas parks and wildlife officers were also at the scene, letting the children touch and take photos with a baby alligator as young fishermen brought various marine animals into shallow water with squeals of joy.
“We had a good turnout for the first annual (event),” Ochoa told PRESS from Pirate’s Landing Fishing Pier. “It was an event for children. Summer had just started, so we wanted as many people as possible to come and have fun and learn the sport of fishing.
He continued, “It’s a lifelong hobby that they can still have.”
Ochoa said the event aimed to introduce local youth to fishing in the Laguna Madre area. Many children caught their first fish on the pier that day. When asked why he chose a fishing event, Ochoa said it dates back to his upbringing in the Laguna Madre.
“Fishing is in our backyard. I grew up fishing here in the Laguna Madre as a child and fished with a can of Coke, a string tied around it and a hook, ”Ochoa said. “This fishing pier, I was dropped off at night when I was a child and I spent a few hours here. We are very fortunate to have the Laguna Madre and the Gulf of Mexico here in our backyard.
The event has its roots in the Vega Kids Fishing Classic, hosted by then Port Isabel Mayor Joe Vega, who is now Cameron County Director of Parks and Recreation. Vega organized the children’s fishing event for several years as mayor, also at the Pirate’s Landing fishing pier.
Ochoa is hoping for another “Fishing with the Judge” event next year, saying more events organized by him are on the way.