Teen's love for fishing hooks in club members

Unable to garner interest in a fishing club at school, a teen has reeled in success as co-founder of a youth fishing club.

Almost a year ago, 15-year-old Jimmy Young's peers at Freedom High School snubbed the idea of a club. Undeterred, Jimmy partnered with his friend, Chris Alleron, to launch the Delta Teen Team.

"Sometimes, I can't fall asleep the night before a fishing trip," Jimmy said. "Sometimes I get there tired, but I'm like, 'No, must fish.'"

Jimmy's enthusiasm is infectious. Now the club has more than 20 dues-paying members from around East County. New members receive a pack filled with bait, lures and other goodies, provided by local and national fishing businesses.

The Oakley teen is especially excited to share his passion for fishing with young club members, ages 12 and 13.

"Getting them into fishing (motivates me)," Jimmy said. "I wanted to start something since I never got to be in a club like this.

"Fishing is peaceful," he said. "You get there on the water, and it's just nice. You get to watch the sunrise, you drive the boat and feel the nice crisp air."

The group fishes in the Delta, and a favorite spot is Big Break Marina in Oakley.

The club has provided opportunities to make new fishing buddies and pick up tips, club member Herbie Rounds said.

"It's turning out to be a lot of fun," said 15-year-old Herbie, who has fished trout since he was a toddler. Herbie said he is learning more about bass fishing from the club.

"It hasn't been more than a month when I haven't gone fishing," he said.

Fishing is in Jimmy's blood. His father, Pat Young, is a former pro bass fisherman who currently helps lead the northern chapter of Won Bass, a fishing organization.

"My first bass was caught on tape," said Jimmy, who began fishing when he was almost 2. "It was one and a half pounds. I had a tiny rod. I was born with the (fishing) gene."

With help from his father, Jimmy's maturity and leadership skills have lured sponsorships from local fishing businesses, Pat Young said.

Pro fisherman Terry White first met Jimmy and his friends at an international sportsman exhibition in Pleasanton, where the club members volunteered at a children's fishing pond. The teens also volunteered at similar events in Sacramento and San Mateo.

"Someone along the line took the time to teach us how to fish," White said. "This is a golden opportunity for us to give back to the younger crowd and get them interested in the competitive world of bass fishing."

The Vacaville resident said he was impressed with Jimmy's efforts to organize a youth fishing club.

"He did something absolutely incredible," White said.

White and his fishing partner, Rob Riehl of Tracy, recently organized a competition for the club.

One of White and Riehl's sponsors, premier fishing line maker Shimano, provided fishing rods and some prizes for the tournament.

Jimmy and his friends said they are pursuing more opportunities to network with pro fishermen and to help members enter competitions.

Jimmy doesn't plan to hold onto the club forever. He intentionally crafted the club's constitution to bar members older than 18.

"By the time I get there, I'm going to pass it on to a worthy person," said Jimmy, who wants to impart fishing to the next generation.