PLANT CITY – Children and their families lined a pond behind Plant City Stadium September 28 for a fishing derby held by the Plant City Parks and Recreations Department.
Program Manager Deborah Haldane explained that the department has held a kids’ fishing derby twice a year for 17 years.
The derby began at 8:30 a.m. and ended at 11 a.m. with an awards ceremony afterward, where trophies for the first bass, first catfish, heaviest fish by weight, and most fish caught were presented.
The derby was for children ages 5 to 15 and split into two ages divisions, which were from 5 to 10 years of age and 11 to 15-years-old.
Haldane explained that the fishing derbies are held at the same pond every year and is well stocked with a variety of fish that include bass, catfish, brim, and mud fish.
Each fish caught was carried in a pail to the registration area to be weighed before being released back into the pond. Haldane explained that this year they had seen both new kids and returning kids to the fishing derby.
“We have some serious little fishermen,” she said, noting that the number of kids registered to fish was up from the last couple of years to roughly 100 for this derby.
“I was really happy to see we topped the seventy mark. The last couple of derbies we’ve been topping out at seventy to seventy-five,” Haldane said. “It was nice to see we topped out in the hundreds.”
Overall winners at the derby included Phebe Buckingham, 12, first bass caught and recorded; and Kyle Ziegler, 11, first catfish caught and recorded.
Winners in the 11- to 15-year-old competition included Kyle Ziegler, 11, largest catfish, 1.6 pounds; and Thomas Black, 11, most fish, 2.
Winners in the 5- to 10-year-old contest included Julia Kripas, 7, largest bass, 2.6 pounds; Khali Booth, 9, largest catfish, 2 pounds; and Blake Zajac, 10, most fish, 12.