Nearly 400 children take part in fishing tourney
The 22nd annual Free Kid’s Fishing Derby marked another successful year Saturday.
About 390 children attended the event, held at the Cape Coral Yacht Club fishing pier. The derby, hosted by the Cape Coral Kiwanis Club, is open to boys and girls ages 5-15. The club provided a free rod and reel to each child and it raffled away 15 new bicycles in a drawing.
“It’s just getting better all the time,” Wally Laumeyer, the event coordinator, said.
A trophy was awarded to RJM, no full name was available, for catching the biggest fish among the boys at 19 inches and Kiara E. for catching the biggest fish among the girls at 13 inches. The second place trophies went to Mike M. for landing a 17-inch and to Helen S. for an 11-½-inch fish. The trophy for the smallest catch went to Anthony L. for reeling in a 1-¾-inch fish.
Laumeyer said more than 200 fish were caught, measured and released.
“My theory is if we can just keep one kid from getting into trouble, it’s worth it,” he said.
For 16-year-old Aaren Schork and 14-year-old Matt Schork, the derby has become a tradition. The brothers said their father brought them to the event for the first time 10 years ago, and the family has kept up the tradition ever since. This year their uncle, Cape Coral resident Jim Wolf, stepped in and attended the derby with the boys because their dad was under the weather.
“I’d actually like to get involved in helping,” Wolf said, commenting on his first time there.
For the Cape brothers, Aaren and Matt just enjoy the fishing – and getting the free pole.
“It’s fun to fish,” Matt said, adding that he fishes in the local canals.
“It’s just a tradition. Something fun to do every year,” Aaren added.
Asked why he enjoys fishing, Aaren explained that the sport is relaxing.
“I like it because it’s not stressful,” he said. “You get to sit and relax.”
Matt urged other local youth to participate in next year’ derby.
“They should come and have fun and fish,” he said.
For the first time, the Cape Coral Kiwanis Club handed out free fishing guides to the kids. The club also created identification cards on site with the child’s photo, name and the size of the biggest fish they caught. With the date and derby information also printed on the cards, they were going over great with the children’s parents as a souvenir from the event.
“It’s really going over big,” Laumeyer said.
Father George Schwing was a fan of the ID cards.
“It’s better for keeping track of whose catching what,” he said, adding that it serves as a photo ID as well.
Schwing attended the derby with his 6-year-old daughter, Brianna. Cape residents, the two are big on fishing and have been to the event about three or four times. Brianna took home the trophy for the smallest fish last year, he added.
“It’s just fun. It’s a great event,” Schwing said. “She loves fishing and it’s something for us to do together outside.”
Cape Coral parents and residents Patrick and Dianna Russell agreed.
“It’s just something nice for the kids,” Dianna Russell said. “I have three boys and they all like to fish.”
The couple has been attending the derby for about eight years with their sons, 14-year-old Todd, 9-year-old Ryan and 7-year-old Bradley.
“We all like to fish and we just enjoy it,” Patrick Russell said.
According to Laumeyer, they had about 20 volunteers at the derby. A mix of club members and community residents, the volunteers ran into no big obstacles and the event ran smoothly. The derby is funded through the club’s two thrift stores and takes about six months to put together.
“To see these kids just catching fish, that’s the big thing,” he said.
For more information, contact Wally Laumeyer at 772-8679 or the Kiwanis Club Thrift Store, located on Southeast 47th Terrace, at 542-2849.