Anglers Anonymous Expands Fishing Trips for Veterans

By Tim Pompey

Brian Barber

Brian Barber

If you’re Brian Barber, president of Anglers Anonymous, what could be better than taking 30 military veterans fishing? How about taking 120 veterans fishing?

That’s the difference between Angler’s previous trip in June and the trip they took last Friday, October 28 at Channel Islands Sportfishing at the Oxnard Harbor. Four times the number of boats required. Four times the veterans. Four times the fun.

The results of the expanded appeal surprised even him. “I didn’t think we were going to be able to do even 100 veterans,” he explained, “but I put the information out there, and next thing I knew, I had a waiting list of about 25 veterans who still wanted to go.”

This time around, the trip included 120 veterans with volunteers spread across four chartered fishing boats.

This time around, the trip included 120 veterans with volunteers spread across four chartered fishing boats.

Apparently, veterans like to fish.

Victoria Sanchez

Victoria Sanchez

Just ask Victoria Sanchez from West Covina, a former U.S. Army Sergeant. “I like fishing with my fellow soldiers, men and women,” she said. “I enjoy the fresh air, the camaraderie, and fishing with friends.”

She feels a bond with other veterans because of their shared experiences. “We all have experienced the same thing,” she said, “which is seeing how the other side of the world lives, learning new things.”

Such as sitting on a deep-sea boat and fishing. Sanchez is good at her craft and has a simple answer when asked what she enjoys most about these trips. “You never know what’s at the end of your line.”

Today she caught chuckleheads and reds, two of the many species of rockfish that are native to the Channel Islands.

Larry Johnson

Larry Johnson

And then there’s Larry Johnson from Palmdale, a former U.S. Army Specialist, sporting a Washington Redskins cap, sunglasses, and a quick sense of humor. He tells me that he enjoys fishing so much that “I’ll probably die on a boat.”

For Johnson, fishing allows him a little respite from family as well as time spent with friends. Fishing friends.

“I like this because it’s “me” time, Johnson noted. “I have a wife and three kids and they take their time in finding their little moments of relaxation, and that’s what I do. I go fishing.”

This time around he had a good trip. “I limited out on red fish and I caught a pretty hefty lingcod. It took me a while to pull him up, but he was a nice size.” Then Johnson added with a laugh, “And he’s going to be nice on that grill tomorrow afternoon.”

Beyond fishing, Johnson enjoys spending time with the group he’s come to know as his fishing buddies. As he explained: “I like hanging out with the fellows. Telling some stories. A lot of times you don’t see the same people till you get together on the boat.”

These are friendships that seem to be built around the sport of fishing. “You go two to three months, a year, and then run into your friends again,” he said. “It’s a good spot to hang out, share stories, make up some.”

Johnson has found that his list of buddies grows with each new trip. “I have a group of buddies and I make new buddies and I’m continuing to make a few more,” he acknowledged, “and they all share that one common thing. You know, you like to feel that hit and you get hooked on fishing.”

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David Miller caught the largest fish on his boat, a 7 lb. lingcod aboard the Erna-B.

Asked if he ever shared any of his fish with his friends, he answered: “If I caught too many, I’ll give them some, that’s how it works. I don’t think we have a say-so on that. That’s just the rule. Now, they won’t get the lingcod though.”

Johnson and everyone around him burst out laughing.

For Anglers Anonymous president Barber, this trip turned out to be very successful. “We had a real good time,” he reported. “We had some Vietnam veterans, some Iraqi veterans. We had a lot of guys come out to help us. It was just a great event.”

The difference this time was that he felt the need to expand the roster. “Once I saw the positive outcome from the last two trips,” he said, “I was thinking ‘let’s try to push it a little bit,’ which we did.”

He hopes to increase the number of trips as well as the number of participants involved in 2017. “My goal would be to do one trip a month,” he noted. “I know with doing fundraisers and raffles and donations and things like that, it’s definitely possible to do another four or five or six trips next year.”

Barber is grateful for the support of members of the local community who help him carry out the mission of Anglers Anonymous. As part of this fishing trip, a tri-tip dinner was served by the Ventura Lions Club. He also credited the considerable fare discounts offered by Doug and Liz Vernand (who own Cisco’s Sportfishing) and the captains who operate the boats.

In addition to future fishing trips through Anglers Anonymous Ventura Coast, Barber hopes to establish more chapters, possibly in El Segundo and Oceanside or San Diego.

For more information about Anglers Anonymous Ventura Coast, visit their website at You can also contact Brian Barber via email at [email protected] or call (805) 827-9567. Donations are welcome.

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Tim Pompey, a freelance writer who has done lots of local affairs and entertainment/cultural writing, lives in Oxnard. Tim is also a fiction writer (Facebook Page). You can learn about his books on

Mr. Pompey’s Newest Book:  

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2 Responses to Anglers Anonymous Expands Fishing Trips for Veterans

  1. Chris Pena May 14, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    I met with your staff at the Fred Hall show this year. I would like to get on one of your upcoming trips. I’m a disabled Vet out of Bakersfield Ca.


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