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27th annual Free Kids’ Fishing Derby this Saturday

By Staff | Mar 31, 2015

The 27th annual Free Kids’ Fishing Derby will take place this weekend for children and teens.

Hosted by the Cape Coral Kiwanis Club, the event will be held Saturday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Cape Coral Yacht Club fishing pier. The derby is open to all youths between the ages of 5 and 15.

Advance registration is not required, but the event is limited to the first 400 children who check in.

“All they have to do is just show up,” Wally Laumeyer, event organizer and a Kiwanian, said.

Check in will begin before 8:30 a.m. at the pier.

“We will give them a rod and reel to fish with,” he said.

Participants get to take home their rod and reel.

Bait will be provided by the Kiwanis.

“As each fish is caught, we measure and record how big it is,” Laumeyer said.

First and second place trophies are given to the boys and the girls with the largest catches.

“We also give a trophy for the smallest fish,” he said. “It’s all catch and release.”

In the whole history of the derby, the biggest fish caught was a trout about 15 inches long.

“Probably an inch and a half,” Laumeyer said of the smallest caught on record.

The children will also receive a ticket that will enter them into a raffle.

“We have about 15 bicycles to give away,” he said.

“And every kid gets their picture taken with a fish,” Laumeyer added.

The photo cards can be used as identification cards.

Last year, approximately 250 children turned out for the event due to the bad weather.

“It was a cold and rainy day,” he said. “Normally, we’ll have 350 to 400.”

Starting with about 20 youth the first year, participation in the event has gradually increased.

“Now it’s pretty stable,” Laumeyer said. “People look forward to it.”

Volunteers will help bait the hooks and offer participants some general instruction on fishing.

“We try to teach them how to fish,” he said, adding that they are also taught the basic ethics behind fishing. “Like showing a little respect out there for your other fishermen.”

Laumeyer noted that some children have never fished before.

“If it’s their first time fishing – they really get a kick out of it,” he said.

Parents are encouraged to attend; younger participants should be accompanied by an adult.

“It’s a good companionship,” Laumeyer said. “The parents many times have more fun than the kids.”

Fishing in the rivers of Minnesota as a youth, he passed his love of the sport on down to his own sons.

“I’ve always liked fishing,” Laumeyer said. “I’m just glad that it does carry on.”

For more information on the Free Kids’ Fishing Derby, call (239) 772-8678 or (239) 691-9095.

The Yacht Club is at 5819 Driftwood Parkway.