The Bankhead National Forest held the 23rd annual “Kids Fishing Derby” on Saturday, June 13 in celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week and National Get Outdoors Day. The Forest Service, which hosts the yearly event to help interest young people in wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation, stocked a pond with about 350 pounds of catfish and invited area youngsters to try their luck. The highlight of this year’s Derby was the National Wild Turkey Federation’s “Jakes Take Aim” Shooting Booth. All children received a free membership to the NWTF’s Jakes club and a fishing derby t-shirt complements of the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association.
Over 60 children (with accompanying adults) from surrounding counties came to the Black Warrior Work Center on the Bankhead National Forest to compete for trophies in three age categories. Contestants fished for approximately 1 ½ hours and the winners in each age group were decided by measuring the longest fish caught by each individual.
The largest fish overall was caught by Tylie Romero of Houston.
In the 5-6 year old age group, Robert Gilmore of Houston took the first place trophy. Molly McDonald of Haleyville captured second place.
Braden Luker of Addison won the first place trophy in the 7 - 9 year old group. Nena Garrison of Double Springs won the second place trophy.
In the 10 – 12 year old category, John Linley of Halyeville took the first place trophy and Tucker Beck of Nauvoo took the second place trophy.
In addition to the fishing competition, a casting contest was held in which Tyden Steele of Houston won in the 5 – 6 year old division; Jon Hess of Haleyville won in the 7 – 9 year old division; and Brilyn Dover of Addison won the 10 – 12 year old division. All three received a new rod and reel and tackle box as their prize.
The Derby concluded with drawing for door prizes, awarding of trophies to contest winners and a hotdog lunch. This year’s event was funded by a grant to the Winston County Natural Resources Council from the Winston County Commission, a grant from the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the US Forest Service. Sponsors of the 2015 Kids Fishing Derby include the Double Springs Lions Club, the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Sipsey Strutters Moulton Chapter and Bankhead Beards and Spurs Winston County Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association, Winston County Natural Resource Council, and the Bankhead National Forest.
A big “THANK YOU” from Smokey Bear to everyone who continue to help make the Kids Fishing Derby a great success.