I must acknowledge that when I received my invitation to attend the 46th Annual Good OL’ Boys Fishing Tournament, my initial impression was colored by stereotypes, and I could almost hear the faint echoes of banjo music in the background. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this event was not confined to a single demographic. In attendance were not only the traditional Good OL’ Boys, but also a diverse and well-represented cross-section of participants, including current, retired, and non-LAFD individuals along with their friends and families. This invite-only tradition, spanning multiple decades, has consistently grown in popularity, to the point where some participants willingly pay to secure their spot for future years even if they can’t attend. The 46th Annual fishing event took place in its customary location at Mammoth Lakes, California. This October rendezvous is known for its mixed weather, typically straddling the line between not too hot and not too cold. However, this year offered a blend of both.
The actual event started on Wednesday, October 11th. Anglers were welcomed to a round of Good Ol’ Boys golf at the Bishop Country in the nearby city of the same name. Thanks to Kurt Kreiner for organizing the golf tournament. The fishing portion of the event commenced on Thursday, October 12th, as guests began to assemble in sizeable numbers in the Mammoth Lakes area. The first stop on their journey was Kittridge Sports, a well-known establishment on Main Street and one of the primary event sponsors. This long-standing business has catered to both anglers and outdoor enthusiasts for decades, serving their needs whether it be for fishing in the summer or skiing in the winter. The business, owned by Joe Joerger and Tom Cage and managed by Terry Lucian, provided a warm welcome to the attendees as they registered for the three-day event. Among those greeting the guests was event coordinator Tommy Kitahata, the driving force behind the scenes. It’s worth noting that without individuals like Tommy, an event of this magnitude would not be possible. He, along with his fellow board members that include Mac Treasure, Phil Gangwish, Jimmy Stiglich, Dave Moreno and Kurt Kreiner and others who assisted with various activities, tirelessly worked to ensure the event’s success. This included tasks like stocking the lakes with fish, some of which were tagged for potential prizes, organizing multiple dinners, and overseeing raffles. Additionally, Tommy and his dedicated team arranged for the trophies that would be awarded to the winners.
The first night of the event was dedicated to a social mixer, which began promptly at 6 P.M. Most attendees arrived early and the parking lot of another major sponsor, Burgers Restaurant, quickly filled up. This restaurant, owned and operated by Ed Hurley and managed by Jamie Dudley, along with their staff including Nicole, Kailani, Fabi, Freddy, Alex, and others, left no stone unturned in ensuring that the attendees lacked for nothing. For those seeking a good home cook style meal in town, I wholeheartedly recommend a visit to sample their cuisine and enjoy the mountain retreat ambiance while sipping on libations from their well-stocked bar; it is a must-visit.
The social mixer, now in full swing, featured Tommy Kitahata expressing gratitude to Ed Hurley for hosting the event at his restaurant. Terry Lucian, General Manager at Kittredge Sports, followed with an overview of the event’s ground rules. Further recognition was extended to various charitable donors, without whom the three-day event could not have been realized. Gratitude was expressed to Gull Marina, located in the June Loop Lake area, for their contribution of additional fish to the lake, as well as free boat rentals for the raffle. Other esteemed individuals, such as retired LAFD Captains Rich Enciso and Greg Porter, played their part. Rich, a Mammoth Lakes resident, operates a local Taxidermy business, offering his services each year to prepare and mount the winning fish, a service much appreciated by last year’s largest fish winner, Kevin Moore (see photo). Retired Captain Greg Porter and his son, who own a trophy and award shop in the Santa Clarita Valley, generously provided this year’s award trophies. Other notable contributions were made from people such as Chris Garcia from American Printing, who assisted with the mailers and hat pins, while also designing and printing the events shirts, Bulldog Liquidators, who donated a beautiful barbeque/smoker, Wes Maclaren of Bad Larry Rod Company handcrafted and gifted a custom-made fly rod, and donations from Kittredge and others, such as casting rods and reels, nets, waterproof phone cases, and exquisite Kershaw pocket knives, were distributed to attendees during the raffle portion of the evening.
Some attendees, like Rich Martinez, were fortunate enough to win multiple items and were duly acknowledged in the traditional LAFD manner each time he claimed his prize. In an amusing turn of events, LAFRA past Board Member Tim Larson, previously misreported as deceased in our last magazine edition, was present at the event. I invite you to enjoy his “Weekend with Bernie” photograph in this article. Tim, in the spirit of good humor, accepted our apologies for the typographical error.
Friday marked a day of fishing for all participants, whether in individual or group settings, across the Mammoth area. The event fostered camaraderie among attendees as they sought to capture the elusive prize fish. Kittredge’s maintained a record of the day’s catches, and even this writer had the privilege of making the cut, if only briefly, with a beautiful four-pound catch from Lake Mary. The weather on Friday was idyllic, with gentle winds and pleasantly warm temperatures. However, Saturday’s weather presented a stark contrast. Unfavorable conditions persisted throughout the day, with gusty winds casting a shadow over the outdoor activities. Nevertheless, these weather challenges failed to deter the enthusiastic anglers, resulting in the capture of an array of large fish that quickly pushed my 4 lbs. catch off the leaderboard.
Saturday evening marked the grand finale, once again hosted at Burgers Restaurant. The event was attended by a diverse group, including firefighters, shop mechanics, friends, and family. The evening’s agenda commenced with a delectable rib and chicken dinner, followed by a lively LAFD Joke-telling contest. This segment highlighted my personal realization that I’m better suited to writing than public speaking. Firefighter/Paramedic Joe Kovasic, in contrast, delivered a compelling performance in his Irish tongue, securing the grand prize for the best narrative. Congratulations, Joe.
Subsequently, the fishing tournament winners were announced. Jerry Blatt received the third prize trophy for his impressive 7.4-pound fish from Lake Mary. Dain Fogelmanis claimed second place and the beautiful trophy with a 7.9 lbs. fish from Lake Mamie. Last but by no means least, Jan Martin secured the first place title with a remarkable 8.25-pound monster hauled from Lake Mary. Rich Enciso, once again, kindly offered his taxidermy expertise to mount Dan’s prized catch, and it will be presented to him at next year’s tournament. The evening events concluded with once last raffle ticket draw, with Corey O’Brien winning a respectable cash award.
In closing, I extend heartfelt gratitude to all the event’s organizers. The Good Ol’ Boys Fishing Tournament is not just a fishing competition; it is a cherished tradition within the LAFD community. For those who have had the privilege to participate, it transcends the realm of fishing and becomes an occasion for camaraderie, relaxation, and a chance to connect with nature. In a world filled with countless sources of joy, few experiences can rival the simple pleasure of holding a rod in hand while a creature of nature engages in an exhilarating battle on the other end. Whether you win, lose, or draw, the Good Ol’ Boys Fishing Tournament stands as a time-honored tradition, and I sincerely hope that it endures well into the future.
If you are fortunate enough to receive an invitation next year, we look forward to seeing you in October —HOOK, LINE, And SINKER!
The Good Ol’ Boys Trout Fishing and Golf Tournament would like to extend a special thanks to their 2023 and past Tournament sponsors—
• Burgers Restaurant
• Kittredge Sports—Mammoth
• Bishop Country Club
• Mammoth Brewing Company
• Gull Lake Marina
• Liberty Bar & Grill
• American Printing Solutions Inc.
• Rich Enciso Taxidermy
• Trophy King—Scott Scozolla
• Bad Larry Rod Company—Wes McLaren
• Top Bug Fly Fishing—Mike Coco
• Desert Springs Trout
• Bulldog Liquidators
By John Hicks