Families Gather for 24th Kids Fishing Derby

By Pat Brooks and Doug Painter - pat@iissav.com and painter.doug@yahoo.com
Courtesy of CCA Skidaway

Saturday, May 25 dawned a beautiful day at The Landings on Skidaway Island and, as usual, many residents headed out to play a round of golf or get in an active match of tennis or Pickleball. Other residents, namely 132 youngsters along with their families, chose a different outdoor experience by participating in Coastal Conservation Association Skidaway Chapter’s (CCA) 24th Annual Kids Fishing Derby. The group was looking to catch bluegill and bass in a lagoon specially reserved and stocked to provide for a fun and rewarding fishing experience for kids.

When the starting horn sounded at 9 a.m., a flurry of worms and crickets went flying through the air as the kids cast their lines hoping to catch the “big one” or, for many of these young anglers, their first fish ever. For about one-third of these youngsters, it was their first time fishing. With help from our volunteer team of “Fishing Buddies”, almost every angler caught at least one fish. In total there were 520 bluegills, and one bass landed during the derby. The largest fish of the day was a tie with Branon Parsons, Cole Wilson, Benjamin Green, Zion Polite, and Julie Lane all landing 11-inch fish. A special “high five” is well deserved by seven-year-old Ella Marino who reeled in 29 fish all by herself!

At the end of the morning Derby, door prizes from Bass Pro and McDonalds were handed out as well as rod-and-reel combos to winning anglers in the various age categories. More than 40 local CCA volunteers were on hand serving as Derby “helpers”, referees, and working the bait and rod/reel stations. A special thanks to the volunteer First Responders who were at the pond throughout the Derby. 

This event would not be possible without our great sponsors who this year included: CBE Group (Ginna Carroll, Jill Brooks, Pat Ewaldsen) of The Landings Company, Southern Motors Honda, The Omelette House, Bass Pro Shops, Paderewski Construction, Synovus Bank, Landlovers, The Landings Association, Kiwanis, Zebco, and Friends of Leonard DaCamara.

As always, this year’s Derby was a morning full of smiles and laughs and, most of all, great family memories of time spent together outdoors. The good news is you don’t need to wait for next year’s derby to go fishing with your kids. The Kids Fishing Lagoon (Lagoon #56 behind the Oakridge firehouse off Log Landing Road) always is open for Landings residents and their accompanied guests. And, yes, it’s okay to fish along with your kids!

Special note: Thanks to The Landings Association’s support and the efforts of several photographers, you can experience “Derby Happenings” and print out pictures of your choice by visiting www.landings.org/photo-gallery. You can print the photos as well as save them by right-clicking on the image and saving it to the pictures area of your computer. If you want a higher resolution copy of a photo, please email Erica L. Kersey (thefocusedlily@gmail.com). Please include the photographer gallery as well as the file name.

CCA is a national organization which serves as the voice for the recreational angler. Locally, the Skidaway Island Chapter has informative meetings open to the public at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, across from Publix in The Village.

Below are the 2019 Kids Fishing Derby winners:

  • First Fish Landed (tie) - Abby Neill and Lolly Lane
  • Biggest Fish Caught (tie) - Branon Parsons, Cole Wilson, Benjamin Green, Zion Polite and Julie Lane (11-inch fish)

Three-to-Five Age Group

  • Biggest Fish - Branon Parsons (11 inches)
  • Most Fish - Everson Bentley (15 fish)

Six-to-Eight Age Group

  • Biggest Fish (tie) - Cole Wilson and Benjamin Green (11 inches)
  • Most Fish - Ella Marino (29 fish)

Nine-to-11 Age Group

  • Biggest Fish (tie) - Zion Polite and Julie Lane (11 inches)
  • Most Fish - Jacob Range (19 fish)

12-15 Age Group

  • Biggest Fish - Natalie Huddleson (10.5 inches)