The Indiantown Chamber of Commerce held its inaugural Kid’s Fishing Tournament on Saturday, June 20, for children 5 to 15 years.
After weeks of delay due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the day finally arrived and the smiles on the children’s faces were self-evident, they could hardly wait to get out of their cars, all 85 of them!
The afternoon prior to the tournament, a dark cloud-filling sky raised concerns whether the weather would disappoint, but it didn’t, the day dawned sunny, and stayed that way all day.
As the youth arrived, instructions included social distancing. With the lake being so large, distancing was not an issue. Catch and release instructions on ‘how to’ were supplied by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). And, the youth listened intently on how to measure their catches, as it was how they could win prizes and the tournament.
Lake Annie was the scene for the event. Because the lake is on private property (owned by Clyde and Nancy Dawson of Indiantown) it’s never fished, resulting in all the children catching bass, crappie and bluegill.
Goodie bags, along with sun-shirts, caps, lures, pens, vouchers and other items were given to participants, and all enjoyed hotdogs and drinks.
With safety as a priority, FWC shared some great advice:
- A fishing rod length from your neighbor makes a great measure of maintaining the 6-foot social distancing space on the shore.
- When walking back and forth to your fishing spot, hold your fishing rod vertically (up-and-down) instead of straight out so you don’t poke or hook anyone. Always walk, don’t run with your rod.
- Look behind you every time you cast—you never know when someone might walk up.
- Use a pair of pliers to bend down the barb on your hook. This makes it easier to quickly unhook the fish and release it in good health. It also makes it easier to unhook you or your fishing buddy just in case an accident happens!
Florida is one of the great fishing capitals of the world, with fresh and saltwater fishing. A team from Anglers For Lake Okeechobee (AFLO) were on hand to help the children; they are a community fishing group of anglers, marina owners, boat owners and fishing guides dedicated to protecting Lake Okeechobee. AFLO was founded with the mission of advocating for the ‘Lake O’ region by focusing on solutions to improve water quality in lakes, estuaries and rivers, they also recognize it’s going to take long-term effort.
The Indiantown Chamber of Commerce promises there will be future kids fishing tournaments and added, “The parents and guardians had such a good time, that now they want an adults fishing tournament.”
To learn more, visit indiantownchamber.com.