The state of California has recently decided to embark on a marketing theme to show how kid friendly the attractions are within the state. The project is labeled ‘Kidafornia’. A little awkward, but workable.
The Catalina Chamber of Commerce has picked up on this effort and has decided to hitchhike on the idea. Our local version is dubbed ‘Kidalina’. I like that. It flows better, makes a lot of sense and is pretty accurate for most of the year.
Catalina is a kid-friendly destination. It is so intimate and safe here. My generation grew up with a lot of freedom. My buddies and I would bike long distances to go to the beach or to a lake or even to the movies. No cell phones, no check–ins, just be back in time for dinner.
Today’s kids are not so lucky. The world is a different place. Parents shuttle kids everywhere. There is very little time for kids to be free. Catalina, I mean Kidalina, is still one of those very rare places where kids can be allowed some freedom to roam.
I remember coming to the island when my kids were young…many years ago! It was a big deal to pack up the family and scoot across the channel to arrive at this magical destination.
Similar to the kind of weather we are currently having, the crossing was often on an ocean bracketed-in by low clouds and fog. It always seemed that the fog would lift around the island, so my kids dubbed it ‘Cloudalina’, knowing it would be a sunny refuge from the rest of So Cal.
The Chamber has requested local businesses to jump on the Kidalina bandwagon by asking all businesses to highlight the kid friendly elements of their offerings. This is easy in the fishing business.
Kids love fishing, and no wonder. It is such a great surprise to stand with Dad and have some creature nibble, then yank on the line attached to a rod in the hands of a little one. Add to this Dad’s off-the-charts enthusiasm and you have the makings of a future angler.
Not all kids stay with the sport, but the ones that do seem to become obsessed with it. We call them ‘Joeys’, and they are responsible for a large part of Afishinados Charter business. Here is how it goes:
“Hello, Capt. John? This is Grace, I’m calling to see if we could set up a fishing trip for my family. Well, really more like a fishing trip for my son Joey, he is the fishing nut among us. We have done all the other fun things, so now we want to let Joey go fishing. We will just tag along.”
Not every family has a ‘Joey’, but those that do are often bewildered by Joey’s dedication. Up at the crack of dawn every morning and down to the shoreline to cast and hope. Head over to the Green Pier and snag a few Calico. Maybe a stop at the mole for a shot at Bonito.
For a fishing mecca, Avalon is not that easy to fish. There are not many places where a kid can hike and fish. So when ‘Joey’ sees us come into the pier with a boatload of happy customers taking their fish off our boats, the pressure is on.
We have become pretty good at reading our charter groups and delivering the kind of charter they want. The most fun charters are those where Joey prevails and the family goes fishing.
At first, everybody kinda stands back and let’s Joey do his thing. This is usually started by a round of questions: “What are we targeting? How should I set up my tackle? Will we find the big ones?”.
If our Joey is an accomplished angler, we will often have him help teach the other family members and get everybody involved. There is something very special about an 8 year old being able to show Dad or Mom or even big brother the ropes on a fishing trip.
We consider these trips to be the base of our business. Families such as these will return again and again to fish with Afishinados Charters. Having been in the business since 2003, we have many Joey’s that are now returning with their college buddies to fish with us.
‘Kidalina’ is a great theme and a very good way to bring attention to the many opportunities that we offer as a destination for families to enjoy a safe, fun, educational, kid-friendly vacation experience.
By Capt. John King
Capt. John runs Afishinados Charters and Catallac Tours – 888-613-7770 – firstname.lastname@example.org