They came excited about fish, but most left disappointed and empty-handed.
More than 200 people gathered Saturday at Howe Park in Sacramento for a chance to hook some catfish. But only a handful brought home a catch, even though the park's pond had been freshly stocked with catfish the night before.
The event was part of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Fishing in the City program. Agency staff members were on hand to train first-time anglers and loan out equipment.
"This is a good opportunity to learn the sport," said Joe Ferreira, program coordinator.
The event coincided with the state's Free Fishing Day, which allows the public to fish without a license.
The fishing holiday is held twice a year, near the Fourth of July and Labor Day. The second Free Fishing Day this year is scheduled Sept. 7.
On Saturday, even experienced fishermen, including Mike Ringler, 51, had trouble hooking the fish. After four hours, Ringler still didn't have a catch.
"I'm now using beef steaks to hook them," he said. "I tried everything worms and shrimps."
Nearby, a splash of water startled Marisa Rosales, 16.
At 11 a.m., the West Sacramento resident had caught her first fish of the day.
"It was hard to pull in," she said. "I just grabbed the rod."
A few feet away, Dewayne Burse chewed on sunflower seeds, waiting for a bite.
"There's a lot of people here. That's why it's hard," said Burse, 26.
Three other Fishing in the City events are scheduled in Sacramento:
8:30 a.m. to noon Aug. 10 at Granite Park, 8200 Ramona Ave.
8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Aug. 17 at Florin Creek, 7460 Persimmon Ave. This event is for children only.
8:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 7 at Howe Park, 2201 Cottage Way.
Call The Bee's Richard Chang, (916) 321-1018. Follow him on Twitter @RichardYChang.