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California Fishing Passport Community

Community is an integral part of what makes fishing the popular activity it is today. People learn to fish from other anglers more than any other informational resource, and people are more likely to fish with a buddy or group than fish alone. And it's no secret that anglers love to share their accomplishments with appreciative, like-minded people!

This California Fishing Passport Community page is here to provide you with just that! Our Ambassadors host workshops, run fishing clubs, and carry out dialogues with the fishing community at large. Anglers that successfully complete the various levels of recognition in the California Fishing Passport Program are featured on our Award Winners' page. Our Trophy Board, below, is here for you to find fishing inspiration and to feature your latest catch!

Recent Award Winners

man on boat holding two fish

Azure Cohen: Accomplished Ocean and Coldwater Angler, Shellfish Expert

boy holding bright orange fish

Jack Halliday: Ocean Angler and Shellfish Specialist

boy holding big silver fish

Dylan Halliday: Ocean Angler and Shellfish Specialist

boy holding fish

David Shigematsu: Accomplished Warmwater, Coldwater, and Ocean Angler, Shellfish Specialist, and IGFA youth pier fishing champion.

boy holding certificate

Ethan Mayes: Master Ocean Angler and IGFA youth pier fishing champion


The Department of Fish and Wildlife applauds members of the sport fishing community who actively support California's many fisheries in their professional and personal lives. These California Fishing Passport Program "Fishing Ambassadors" are accomplished and respected for their abilities and commitments in their respective fields. They are recognized for their leadership within the fishing industry, for serving as role models through their practice and promotion of ethical angling, and for helping to inspire generations of California anglers through their passions for fishing.

Ish Monroe

Ish Monroe

Ish Monroe

Professional bass angler who has realized his childhood dream

Ish is a pro bass angler fishing on the national ESPN/BASS tour. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay area as an inner city kid, and he's always loved to fish. Fishing was all he wanted to do as a kid, but everyone told him it would get him nowhere. But, were they ever wrong! Last year he won nearly $400,000 on the pro fishing tour, and he's one of the top anglers on this national tour.

"Fishing was great for me and kept me away from drugs and violence and out of trouble," said Monroe while on stage. Giving back to today's youth with the same type of support that he got as a youngster is very important to Ish and something that he strives to do. Learn more about him at link opens in new

George Lawry

George Lawry

George Lawry

Crusader who created an organization that supports enforcement of the laws protecting abalone against poachers and over-harvest

George founded SCAN (Sonoma County Abalone Network), a grassroots organization of abalone divers who support the protection of abalone from poaching and over-fishing, and support the game wardens who are working to protect the abalone and eliminate poaching. Through their Court Watch program, SCAN works to make the local courts aware of the importance of California's north coast abalone resource and the dire consequences that result when abalone poaching activity occurs. SCAN also assists and maintains a courtroom presence on those occasions when an abalone poaching case is scheduled to be heard. Learn more about SCAN at link opens in new

Chris Shaffer

Chris Shaffer

Chris Shaffer

Outdoor journalist who produces indepth fishing guide books, as well as many magazine and newspaper articles promoting fishing throughout all California waters

Chris is a book author and outdoor writer who does fantastic work through his award-winning books to motivate and encourage people to want to try fishing some of California's most spectacular lakes and waterways, as well as to truly enjoy all of California's beautiful outdoors and our important fishery resources. Chris Shaffer has spent the last decade of his life exploring, investigating and documenting more than 1,500 lakes, rivers, streams, ponds and waterfalls throughout California.

Tom Mattusch

Tom Mattusch

Tom Mattusch

Sport fishing captain, naturalist and leader in the sport fishing community

Tom is the owner/operator of the Huli Cat, a 53 foot CPFV charter boat operating out of Pillar Point Harbor, who has fished the West Coast since 1967. He takes thousands of people fishing every year for salmon, rockfish, Humboldt squid, Dungeness crab, and more, as well as conducts whale watching and naturalist tours out around the Farallon Islands. He is a leader in the industry and a true champion for all of his efforts to try to bring new anglers to the sport while also helping them to more fully appreciate all of California's incredible ocean resources. Learn more about Tom and the Huli Cat at link opens in new

Remarkable Women Inspiring Others

Joan Bennett

Joan Bennett

Joan Bennett

Tireless supporter for disabled veterans and those with physical disabilities to help them use fishing for rehabilitation and therapy

Joan is a retired naval officer whose passion for fishing began when she was just four years old, fishing with her dad in Cranford, New Jersey. She now lives in Salinas, and among many fishing-related activities, participates as an advisor (she is also a past president) of Monterey Bay Veterans, Inc., a sports rehabilitation center for disabled veterans and others with disabilities.

"I believe in taking care of the fish, and teaching people about fishing," said Joan. In addition to making it possible for thousands of disabled vets to go fishing on Monterey Bay, Joan volunteers her time marking salmon smolts, refurbishing fishing gear for local Boy and Girl Scout troops, and working within the legal system to enable handicapped folks to go fishing. Recently, she has worked to make sure that fishing docks are ADA compliant, and sponsored/wrote Assembly Bill 2268, which exempts veterans from fishing license requirements while participating in rehabilitation. You can learn more about Monterey Bay Veterans, Inc. on their website at link opens in new

April Wakeman

April Wakeman

April Wakeman

Accomplished angler with four IGFA World Records and a crusader for anglers

April, a retired lawyer who has worked for McDonnell Douglas/Boeing, was introduced to fishing by her husband, Steve, during a two-week fishing and camping trip down on the East Cape. Her first catches included dorado, sailfish, marlin. and a hurricane! Despite the weather anomalies April became hooked on fishing, and has proceeded to earn four IGFA (International Wildlife Fish Association) world records for halibut, mako and thresher shark (two).

"I believe that we all must work to support what we believe in," said April, who resides in Fullerton. For her part, April has worked tirelessly with United Anglers of Southern California to "make the world a better place. I want to see a healthy, vibrant, marine environment with lots of fish - both today and for my grandchildren (yet to come). The corollary is that it is easier to catch fish when there are lots of them."

April first became involved with United Anglers as a volunteer, and is now an integral member of the organization where she works to increase recreational fishing opportunities. You can find April at Fish and Wildlife Commission meetings, Fred Hall shows (where she likes to hang out at the trout pond), or at the United Anglers offices in Irvine. "Unfortunately you don't find me on the water as often as I'd like," the consummate angler says, "but I'm working on it!" Contact her at

Jenny Armstrong

Jenny Armstrong

Jenny Armstrong

Founder of the "Saltwater Woman Program"

Jenny, an avid angler from La Conchita, CA, helped launch the "Saltwater Woman Program" to introduce women and their families to the adventures of ocean sport fishing. She is especially interested in promoting fishing opportunities for mothers and their teenage daughters. This program offers women "hands on" instructional seminars on a variety of topics, and creates trips designed for both beginning and advanced women anglers that are enjoyable, relaxing, non-competitive, and fun!

Jenny first began fishing with her dad 24 years ago at the age of 9. Spending quality time on the water with family and friends has always been a family tradition that's been passed down through generations. While in high school, Jenny worked as a deckhand on a sportfishing boat, and to this day she most enjoys fishing for tuna, dorado, yellowtail, marlin and white seabass in waters from Southern California down to the East Cape of Baja.

"I have always enjoyed teaching and sharing my passion with others, so it was only natural that I would combine these two," says Jenny. "By offering a program that helps to educate and provide opportunities to be out on the water, I hope to inspire others to go out and appreciate what our waters have to offer. Just being on the water allows us to forget about all the stresses in our lives."

To learn more about the Saltwater Woman Program, e-mail Jenny at

Shauna Barton

Shauna Barton

Shauna Barton

Founder of the South Bay Lady Anglers Fishing Club, one of the largest women's angling clubs in California

As founder of the South Bay Lady Anglers Fishing Club in 1996, Shauna Barton enjoys instructing ladies in various fishing techniques and in knot tying. The South Bay Lady Anglers Fishing Club is one of the largest women's fishing clubs in California with appeal for both saltwater and freshwater anglers.

In addition to this organization, Shauna also helped to start the Alondra Park Fishing Day which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary the year. This super-successful event is run in conjunction with the CDFW's Fishing in the City program, and draws up to 600 kids each year. Shauna enjoys the opportunity to teach children about fishing techniques, fishing safety, conservation and the environment, and about "tag and release." Her favorite saying to these kids is "Tag a Fish, Not a Wall."

Shauna has been fishing since childhood and hails from Carson, CA. She most enjoys fishing with her two grandsons (Michael and Thaddeus) and her fishing girlfriends for white seabass and tuna. You can email Shauna at

Fishing Mentors Inspiring New Generations of Anglers

Marlon Meade

Marlon Meade

Marlon Meade

Extraordinary fishing mentor who has spent nearly 30 years inspiring more than 30,000 people through his volunteerism and passion for fishing

Marlon Meade has spent almost 30 years working to provide fishing opportunities for kids, and puts on 20-25 events every year. Born and raised in Anaheim, Marlon's events require rallying volunteers, arranging sponsorships, finding donated equipment, and all in order to provide hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of kids each year with a memorable fishing experience. For many years he also headed the largest disabled kids fishing program in the United States. His fishing programs are all educational and help get people started as anglers.

Introduced to fishing by his dad at the age of 3, Marlon will be the first to credit his dad (Curtis) with also being his biggest supporter, his most steadfast volunteer throughout all of his events, and a shining example of the effect a father can have on his children when he introduces them to the world of fishing.

Marlon's mentorship calling started early. He spent much of his youth involved with the local YMCA participating in fishing derbies for grammar school students. By the time he was 18 his success and enthusiasm prompted a local fishing club to select him as chair for their kids fishing derby program. Excited by the opportunity, he approached his first (and only) sponsor to ask for support, but the store owner told him he looked too young to be organizing a fishing derby and suggested Meade bring in his dad to confirm his story.

From those early beginnings, Marlon has worked tirelessly to provide California's youth with fishing opportunities that they might not otherwise have. In 2001, he was honored by the Izaak Walton League of America with their National Conservation Youth Ethics Award "for his steadfast commitment to the field of conservation and education and outreach activities that have introduced thousands of California's children to the outdoors." In 2004, Marlon was voted by his peers to be one of the top 30 anglers on the West Coast by Western Outdoor News magazine.

Marlon's dedication serves as a model for the young and old alike. His mentoring of anglers, tenacity to provide fishing opportunities, and his commitment to conservation education are inspiration to generations of Californians.

To meet Marlon and to learn more about his programs, call (714) 649-9111.

Wendy Tochihara

Wendy Tochihara

Wendy Tochihara

Energetic radio host who promotes fishing and outdoor sports, especially to women and children

Wendy Tochihara started fishing as a child with her parents and twin sister, and those early family camping and fishing trips together remain fond memories. She renewed her interest in fishing after becoming a parent herself; she would head to a local lake to fish every Friday to get away and relax. As she tells it, it was her day "to change bait, not diapers."

Those regular Friday fishing trips led to her working at the lake, then to work as a call screener on Fish Talk Radio, and eventually to her becoming the host of "Women in Fishing" and "Kid's Corner" on the radio. Before long, she was fishing competitively in bass tournaments, and won "Angler of the Year" her first season. Today she is the National Sales Manager for link opens in new windowIzorline International and represents Big Hammer, Phenix Rods, Bomber Eye Wear and TyGer Leader and she continues to fish as much as possible.

Wendy is currently one of the co-hosts of Rod & Reel Radio and can be heard on AM 540, Sunday evenings from 5:00-7:00 PM or you can listen live at link opens in new "My goals with Rod and Reel Radio are to encourage more women and children to participate in outdoor sports by broadcasting a fun and informative program. I want this show to be a truly family-oriented program."

Wendy promotes the outdoors and teaches people how to fish through her radio programs, television, seminars, and by taking people fishing. Wendy says she promotes fishing and the outdoors "to whoever will listen."

John Rowe

John Rowe In Memoriam... John Rowe

Previous Executive Director of the "Friends of Rollo" program, which introduces thousands of troubled and at-risk youth to ocean fishing annually

John Rowe was the Executive Director of the non-profit organization "Friends of Rollo", a youth fishing program that introduces young people to ocean fishing. Although the program focuses primarily on reaching inner city kids, the disadvantaged, and at-risk youth, it also provides coastal fishing trips to kids from all walks of life. Each of their 1/2 to 3/4 day fishing trips carries 35 to 40 kids, along with 5-6 chaperones. Since it's inception in 1999, this organization has helped connect more than 40,000 youth to California's ocean waters and the importance of conservation.

John, a true fishing enthusiast, was first introduced to fishing by his father at age 3. His first job was dipping bait at the Hermosa Beach pier when he was 9 years old, and as a teen he worked in tackle shops. Eventually, he made his way into sales and product development for a major international fishing product corporation where he worked for more than a decade.

After joining Friends of Rollo, John took his knowledge of fishing, his desire to share the joy of fishing with others, and his love for people to new heights. John understood the excitement of the kids who participate in this program as they experience their first fishing trip, and what may be the first boat ride of their lives.

He was also instrumental in forging new relationships with organizations to help as many kids as possible appreciate fishing as a positive activity that highlights the value of our ocean resources. He helped sponsor the first kids' saltwater California Fishing Passport trip, and was instrumental in working with the CDFW and others to offer more of these opportunities to our next generation of anglers. He will be missed.

Learn more about Friends of Rollo at link opens in new

Carol Martens

Carol Martens

Carol Martens

Pro bass angler, seminar speaker, and fishing guide inspiring others with her "Keep Fishing Fun" motto

Carol Martens is a professional bass angler (one of the few women competing on the West Coast), outdoor writer and public speaker. She's been a competitive angler for nearly 20 years, and first started fishing with her son, Aaron, as a mother-son team together back in 1988 when Aaron was just 14 years old. They taught themselves how to fish and became a very competitive and successful team, winning 11 "Angler of the Year" titles and many top place finishes. Aaron has now gone on to be highly successful in his own right, winning several national championships and ranking as one of the top bass pros in the country.

Carol, a former beauty consultant for many years, decided to leave that life behind and instead pursue her love of fishing and competing in professional bass tournaments. She promotes that enjoyment to everyone she encounters, and her enthusiasm is truly infectious. Carol has even passed on her love of the sport to two of her grandsons who are now fishing competitively, too.

With her love of people, good humor, and her enthusiasm for fishing, it's easy for Carol to share her experiences as an angler. She often conducts guided fishing trips on local lakes (including Castaic and Casitas), and especially enjoys teaching basic fishing principles to women, children and couples through her trips and fishing seminars.

Carol's motto is to "Keep Fishing Fun!" And not only does she live it, she shares it. You can e-mail her at

It takes time and dedication to embark on a California Fishing Passport challenge. These recent award recipients have spent several years fishing, using all kinds of techniques and exploring fishing locations across the state. Azure was the first to receive the Accomplished Ocean Angler award; David was the youngest to achieve "Accomplished" status in any category; and the Halliday brothers, Jack and Dylan, have each landed trophy-sized fish nearly as large as they are! Ethan Mayes, IGFA youth fishing champ, received his Master Ocean Angler award in 2018 (shown receiving his Accomplished Ocean Angler award from CDFW staff at the 2017 Fred Hall Show).

To learn more about these featured anglers, and to see a complete list of the anglers that have completed California Fishing Passport challenges, visit our Award Winners Page.

Trophy Board

Send us a photo of your passport catch to display here! After having your passport stamped by one of our official stamping agents, email the photo of you with your catch to

David's BIG cat!

David went out for crappie but landed this channel cat on his light gear
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