Keys Kids Catch’em up at the 22nd Annual Derby

120 Keys Kids, all 10 years old or younger, participated in the 22nd Annual Keys Kids Fishing Derby on September 29th hosted by the Lorelei.   Junior anglers pay no fee to participate in this event.  They may fish in one of three different divisions, Offshore, Shoreline or Backcountry and awards are given for three different age groups in each of these divisions. Ditty bags packed full of fishing goodies from many local businesses and other donors, including a fishing rod for each angler from Fish Florida, were handed out to all kids who fished.  Lines were in at 9AM and the weigh scales closed at 1PM.

Winds were blowing but that did not discourage our offshore anglers including Grand Champion Caleb Bokor, weighed in the largest fish of the tournament, a 17.4 pound Amberjack.  Caleb took home a framed Pasta Pantaleo Print, a tackle box from World Wide Sportsman, a buff and sunglasses from Flying Fisherman, along with a tournament trophy, award certificate, brand new fishing rod, as well as other prizes, along with a story to tell for years to come.  Walker Vance, age 4 caught a .7 pound Yellowtail for first place in the 0-4 age group and Blake Vance weighed a .8 pound Yellowtail to win the 5-7 age division.

Most Outstanding Catch award went to Zach Swensson who released a Snook and Goliath Grouper to win a pile of prizes. Over half of the anglers registered for the shoreline division including 3 year old Lilly Thurkettle. Lilly caught a .8 pound Grunt winning on time over Ivy Vance age 1 that caught a .8 pound Snapper right at the docks of the Lorelei.  The fish were released immediately after being weighed in.  The largest fish caught from shore was a 1.2 pound Snapper released by 5 year old Arlo McBay.  Angler Zane Wampler age 8 weighed a 1.1 pound Snapper to win his division.

At age 10, it was Natalie Goodwin’s last year to fish, but she went out in style with a 9.3 pound Jack to win her division with the largest fish in the backcountry.   Other winners in the backcountry include Camden Goodwin age 6 with a 3.4 pound Jack and Phoebe Miller age 4 with a 1.6 pound Snapper.

“Tournament founder Kathy Lewis was with us in spirit,” stated tournament director Dianne Harbaugh, “I miss her tremendously.  The Keys Kids Derby’s main purpose is to educate young anglers. We have tackle available here at the Lorelei for kids that would normally not have a chance to go fishing.  This is the best day of the year, just watching these kids have fun catching and releasing fish.  There are so many kids that get to catch their first fish! Without the help from the Islamorada Fishing and Conservation Trust, the Islamorada Charter Boat Association, Jim and Mary Ann Bokor, and other local supporters we could not have made this such a great event.”

A huge thank you goes to the Lorelei for chumming the waters with chum supplied by Tackle Center of Islamorada.  Tackle Center also supplied all the bait for our junior anglers. Mangrove Mike’s brought us donuts, muffins, juice and coffee to get the day started.  World Wide Sportsman donated tackle boxes for all the winners. Sportsman’s Adventures donated all the ditty bags,  David and Bobbi Wirth gave custom painted hats for the anglers. Flying Fisherman donated sunglasses and Pasta Pantaleo backed, bagged and supplied prints for all the winners. MJ Hudson took all the wonderful pictures.  A casting contest was held on the beach where anglers won a multitude of prizes.  Coral Shores Cheerleaders raised money with the hot dogs and sodas donated by the Lorelei.  A special thank-you goes out to the local captains who came by to help the kids and all the volunteers helped bait hooks, keep score, check in anglers, hand out awards and make the day go perfectly!  We would like to thank all those who helped to make this event the success it was.  We can’t wait until the last Sunday of September next year!

22nd Annual Keys Kids Fishing Derby Sunday September 29th – Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar

Overall Grand Champion
Caleb Bokor Age 10 17.4 pound Amberjack
Outstanding Catch
Zach Swensson Age 9 Release of a Snook and Goliath Grouper

Backcountry Division             Age                     Fish- weight pounds
0-4 Age Division
1st Place        Phoebe Miller         4                                  1.6 Snapper
2nd Place       Haley McCadie      3                                  .9 Snapper
3rd Place        Gusty Babino         3                                  .5 Grunt

5-7 Age Division
1st Place       Camden Goodwin    6                                  3.4 Jack
2nd Place      Dylan Ramirez         6                                  2.8 Jack on time
3rd Place       Julian Robertson     5                                  2.8 Jack on time

8-10 Age Division
1st Place        Natalie Goodwin      10                               9.3 Jack
2nd Place       Zach Swensson       9                                  2.7 Jack
3rd Place        Keller Blackburn      10                               1.0 Jack

Shoreline Division
0-4 Age Division
1st Place        Lilly Thurkettle          3                                  .8 Grunt on time
2nd Place        Ivy Vance                 1                                  .8 Snapper on time
3rd Place        Liam Valle                 3                                  .7 Snapper

5-7 Age Division
1st Place        Arlo McBay               5                                  1.2 Snapper
2nd Place        Noah Garcia            7                                  1.1 Snapper on time
3rd Place        Liam Griffith             7                                  1.1 Grunt on time

8-10 Age Division
1st Place        Zane Wampler         8                                  1.1 Snapper
2nd Place       Leah Fleming           9                                  .9 Grunt
3rd Place        Hudson Wampler     9                                  .8 Snapper on time

Offshore Division
0-4 Age Division
1st Place        Walker Vance           4                                  .7 Yellowtail Snapper
2nd Place       None  Rough conditions
3rd Place        None

5-7 Age Division
1st Place       Blake Vance             7                                  .8 Yellowtail Snapper
2nd Place      None Rough conditions
3rd Place       None

8-10 Age Division
1st Place        Sage Irish               9                                  5.8 Kingfish
2nd Place        Rhett Bynum         8                                  1.4 Yellowtail Snapper
3rd Place        Walker Lynn           8                                  .8 Yellowtail Snapper


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