RIO VISTA — Jay Sorensen might not be from Rio Vista, but the Delta and river region are in his blood.
A member of the grassroots organization, Restore the Delta, and the founder of the California Striped Bass Association, Sorensen, a Stockton resident, is this year’s pick as grand marshal for the 66th annual Bass Derby parade Oct. 13.
“It’s quite an honor,” said the 76-year-old Sorensen. “I’ve been active in trying to preserve our habitat and our fisheries for future generations.”
He will be representing the parade’s theme, “Restore the Delta,” along with G. Ray Arnett, 90, who is a former assistant secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife.
Sorensen lamented that one of the issues plaguing the Delta, aside from the governor’s proposed twin diversion tunnels and declining striped bass population, is that of creeping salinity levels. Twitchell and Sherman islands used to be the “asparagus and tomato capitals of the world,” Sorensen said. These days the salinity level is too high for those crops and the scant crops in the area now run to peaches, “maybe some grapes” and feed corn for cattle, he said.
“One of these days, we’ll be fishing for shark out there (in the Delta),” he said. “It’s getting real bad.”
Sorensen was 7 and living in Stockton when the fishing bug bit him. He used to sweep the floors of a bait shop. In return they gave him a rod and reel and also sardines. Then they started taking him fishing.
“I just fell in love with the Delta,” he said. “My father was a trout fisherman. They didn’t get into the Delta fishing like I did.”
Those early experiences shaped his advocacy for Delta restoration. In addition to Restore the Delta and the California Striped Bass Association, he also is a member of the California Sport Fishing Protection Alliance, United Anglers of California and is a board director for Discover the Delta Foundation.
The Rio Vista Bass Derby and Festival runs from Oct. 10-13. The parade begins at noon on the last day. In addition to the Bass Derby, which is the oldest on the West Coast and begins Oct. 11, there will be a carnival, vendors, a pancake breakfast, a garage sale, fishing tank for kids, a car show, a soap box derby, fireworks and entertainment.
For more information, go to www.bassfestival.org.
Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.
Location: Pole Barn, near the beer and wine garden, Front Street
5 p.m.: Solid Gold, a classic variety from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.
8 p.m.: Afterglow, a 1968 group with tunes spanning four decades.
11:30 a.m.: Vintage Vandals, performing on Main Street.
1 p.m.: Mobility, made up of active-duty Air Force members from Travis Air Force Base.
3:30 p.m.: The Livin Daylites, plays eclectic music ranging from soulful and bluesy to country sounds.
6 p.m.: Derek Able Band, plays blues and rock.
9 p.m.: No Advice, rock ‘n’ roll, made up of members from Bay Area and Delta bands.
Noon: Ravin Ray Elvis, an Elvis Presley tribute artist.
1 p.m.: Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic, Grammy-nominated Zydeco artist.