Elements line up for record fish derby turnout
Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 12:00 pm
By RANDY CAVIN
Great weather and lots of fish equaled out to a record number of participants in this year’s Fishing Derby.
There were plenty of fish to be caught for the 113 participants in the Fishing Derby, hosted by the Martin Parks and Recreation Department and jointly sponsored by the Martin Kiwanis Club and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
The record number of children ages 14-and-under caught a total of 127 fish at the event, held at the Martin Recreation Complex Lake.
Ashton Morgan of Martin caught the biggest fish of day, a catfish that weighed six pounds, 12 ounces and measured 26 inches long. The 5-year-old angler did not give up his secret to catching such a whopper.
Eight-year-old Baylah Pettit of Martin caught the first fish of the day, a bluegill that any angler would be proud of, shortly after the fishing derby began at 8 a.m.
This year was a much different story than last year, when the area was in the midst of a drought with low water levels and few fish caught — including no catfish.
Plenty of rain in recent weeks and milder weather improved this year’s fishing with the majority of the fish caught being catfish.
The 127 fish caught this year is well below the number of fish caught in 1999 when the fishing derby was moved to the recreation complex lake.
“This derby has been going on for over 30 years,” said Kim Kirby, the parks and recreation program director. “It was first held at Cane Creek Pond and then moved to Pacer Pond at UTM. It was then moved here in 1999 with 55 kids fishing in the derby, and they caught 270 fish. That is a lot of fish for 55 kids.”
Kirby has been with the parks and recreation department since 1989 and said 113 kids fishing in the derby is the highest number since she has been with the department and is definitely a record number.
She attributed the record number to the weather and the large amount of fish the TWRA stocked in the lake prior to the fishing derby.
“I think it went well,” Kirby said. “We had a wonderful turnout. It was a fantastic day for fishing. Special thanks to the TWRA for stocking the lake with the catfish and for providing the prizes. And a special thanks to the Kiwanis Club for volunteering the manpower and providing the trophies.”
The prizes provided by the TWRA included rod-n-reels, assorted lures and other fish-catching goodies any young angler could need.
The TWRA first stocked the lake with largemouth bass and bluegill before the lake opened in 1999 and stocked it with catfish after it opened.
Mike Thompson of the TWRA said were no crappie stocked in the 6.5 acre lake and he hopes no one puts any in it.
“This lake is too small for crappie,” Thompson said. “We did not put any in it and we hope no one ever does. They would over-populate a lake this small and that would not be good for it because the crappie would never grow to be any size.”
Published in The Press 6.11.13