Junior anglers enjoyed a favorable spring morning at Charles D. Owen Park testing out their fishing skills at the Kids Fishing Derby. Over 50 children participated in the event, organized by Buncombe County Recreation Services in partnership with the NC Wildlife Commission.
Buncombe County Recreation Services has held similar fishing tournaments at its Lake Julian facility for several years; the Owen Park event was an opportunity to expand the concept into a new area of the community. Recreation Services hosts kids fishing events to attract youth to the parks to experience new recreation options while establishing life-long active and outdoor recreation habits. Adding the additional event at Owen Park allowed Recreation Services to showcase the facility and the amenities that it offers for area youth.
Participants were able to borrow rods from the NC Wildlife Commission and get advice on the best types of bait for their target fish. Staff from Recreation Services was on hand to administer the event, measure catches, and help with the occasional tangled line or wayward hook.
The NC Wildlife Commission stocked the ponds at Owen Park with catfish in advance of the event; however, brim and bass were biting strong. Participants caught about 60 fish overall. Not everyone was lucky to net a catch, but most enjoyed the opportunity to try out fishing and to enjoy the time outside. Emma Leonard, age 4, had her first fishing experience at the derby. Her mother noted that, “She didn’t catch any fish but she still had a great time.”
Children participating in the derby ranged from toddlers through the event age maximum of 15. It was truly a co-ed event with both boys and girls eager to compete for prizes. Overall, girls had a strong showing representing the majority of fish caught. Competitors joining the competition included those completely new to the sport of fishing to several experienced anglers who have grown up competing at the Lake Julian events.
Prizes were awarded in several categories, separated by age range, including most fish caught, largest fish caught, and smallest fish caught. Several area sponsors stepped up to provide prizes for the derby including Kilwin’s Chocolates, Fudge, and Ice Cream of Black Mountain, Okie Dokies Smokehouse, Harley Davidson of Asheville, and Black Mountain Pizza Hut.
May 14, 2016 will offer another opportunity for youth interested in fishing with another Kids Fishing Derby at Lake Julian in Arden, NC. The Lake Julian event will offer a similar competitive format. Cost for that event is $10 per participant. The event will take place from 8:30am to 11:30am. Registration will begin at 8am or participants can pre-register online at http://tinyurl.com/goql76p.
Information about Buncombe County Recreation Services events and facilities can be found on the Buncombe County Recreation Services Website (http://www.buncomberecreation.org)