Biting fish, good weather, lots of little anglers make for derby success
About 115 children showed up early Saturday morning to participate in the Kids All American Fishing Derby.
Hosted by the city of Cape Coral, the event was held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Cape Coral Yacht Club Pier for ages 5 to 15. After two hours of fishing, awards were handed out for the first fish caught, the smallest and biggest fish caught, and the most fish caught. It cost $8 per child to participate, and lunch was provided by Pizza Budds.
“We always try to do positive community events,” Coby Palmer, a recreation specialist with the city’s parks and recreation department, said.
The Cape has been putting on the children’s derby for about five years.
“It’s competitive, but it’s fun,” he said. “And it’s great for the parents and the kids to spend time together.”
Kevin Lundbery received the award for the first fish caught when he reeled one it at 8:14 a.m.
The smallest fish award went to Brittany Enne for her 2-1/2-inch one. She also received the award for the most fish caught, snaring an amazing 41 within the two-hour window.
Jamie Jarvis landed the largest fish of the day — a whopping 14-incher.
Palm said the children caught a total of 207 fish, including puffer fish, angelfish, sheephead fish, catfish and redfish. There were even a few stingrays landed, which did not count and were throw back along with the fish.
Cape resident John Annaruma brought his granddaughters, Victoria, 8, and Gianna, 7. It was the girls’ first time participating in a fishing derby and they were having fun, despite the heat, and appeared to be pretty good.
“It’s a day out, No. 1, and it’s the grandkids,” he said of why they signed up. “It takes them outside and makes them realize there’s more to life.”
Annaruma added that it also is a good experience for the girls.
Down on vacation from Maryland, out-of-towner Mike McCarthy and his family were also in attendance. He explained that the family, including wife Christi and sons, Devin, 11, Jack, 9, and Colin, 7, have been visitors to the Southwest Florida area for about 12 years. This year was the McCarthy children’s first time at the fishing derby.
“We just heard about it,” McCarthy said, adding that the boys love to fish.
He called the event a lot of fun.
“It’s a great family event,” McCarthy said.
According to Palmer, the derby teaches children how to fish properly and is simply a perfect fit for the city.
“Fishing is a part of the young people’s culture down here,” he said.
Children were asked to bring their own fishing rods and tackle boxes, but sponsor West Marine provided rods for some participants. Bait was provided by KC’s Riverstop, and other sponsors included Capt. Rob and Capt. George.