Future Fishermen Have Fun in the Sun
COURTESY STEVE MCCADAMS
Catfish were on the prowl Saturday morning at McKenzie’s City Park Lake For the 18th Annual Steve McCadams “Casting For a Cure” Kids Fishing Rodeo. Ready to corral them were an eager bunch of future fishermen too.
Surrounding the shorelines on a hot summer morning were some 84 boys and girls ages 15 and under ready to test their tackle on what they hoped were hungry catfish ready for breakfast. Most of the young anglers quickly got their wish.
Once the siren sounded to kick start the event at 9 a.m. action was fast and furious. Bobbers disappeared. Poles bent. Kids and adults squealed with delight. The game was on!
Some 300-plus pounds of channel catfish were waiting with an appetite. The youngsters wasted no time in taking advantage of the opportunity. All around the little lake big smiles broke out as one fish after another tugged away, sometimes twisting up a few lines before making a blitz toward deep water.
Most of the youngsters were on the front lines of battle with channel catfish and an occasional bluegill. The fish had been stocked on Wednesday by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and were sporting an appetite by Saturday morning.
Baits of choice ranged from the popular nightcrawlers and redworms to a few special concoctions such as hotdogs soaked in a special formula. Two young ladies baited with chicken livers and did well. A few youngsters used live minnows and crickets which also appealed.
“It was great to see so many youngsters tying into these aggressive catfish at the same time” said McCadams, who hosts the event every year during the first week of June. “I believe we had more kids catching fish this year and several managed to land double digit numbers on their stringers”!
“Every year, when I see these kids smiling and laughing as they catch fish with their friends and family by their side, it reminds me why we do this. I recall rodeos of yesteryear at Carroll Lake when I was young with my dad and grandfather coaching me. Memories were being made one fish at at time.”
“We even had one four-generation family at this year’s rodeo as James Choate of McKenzie was there with daughter, Teresa Matlock, who had participated in rodeos with me back in the 60’s at Carroll Lake. On the banks helping guide great-grandkids were Carl Davis and his dad, Gary. Young Eli Davis kept the family fishing reputation going too as he landed eleven catfish winning the Most Fish title in the 5 and under category.”
Thanks to several people who opened their hearts and pocketbooks to support the rodeo it was another successful event. After the expenses of the rodeo, Mc-Cadams makes a donation to the Jackson office of the American Cancer Society each year.
All the anglers were winners as each participant went home with a door prize. Winning special recognition were boys and girls who landed the most or biggest fish in four separate age brackets.
Taking the top spot in the 5 and under bracket was Eli Davis of McKenzie who landed eleven fish to win Most Fish honors; Big Fish award went to Hunter Thorpe of Gleason for a dandy weighing over 2.5 pounds.
In the 6-8 year age bracket, it was Drake Thorpe, of Gleason, winning big fish and Aiden Brock of Huntingdon landing the most fish. For the 9-12 bracket, it was Dalylah Keith, of McKenzie, with the most fish, (a hefty stringer of 18), and Sammy Calderon, of McKenzie, earning big fish honors.
In the 13-15 age bracket, it was Joe Fitzgerald catching the most fish and Claudia Pineda, of Gleason, taking big fish honors.
All winners were presented with a special engraved plaque plus a bicycle and additional door prizes.
“I appreciate Ricky French and Mike Beasley of McKenzie City Parks, who help make this a success each year plus several volunteers who help with registration and weigh-in. It’s a pretty big job but I love it and look forward to next year’s event.”
A tip of the hat to area merchants who donated prizes and concessions as well and to TWRA for stocking the fish.
Photos by Jim Potts/The Banner
Photo by Jim Potts/The Banner Right, Brothers Hunter Sims, Michael White and Jeremy Sims of McKenzie show their prizes after a long day of fishing. Photo by Jennifer Sims/The Banner