Fishing clinic offered Saturday

By Tonya Garner: CNJ Staff Writer

Children of all ages looking to wet a hook or land a big catch can participate in Saturday’s Kids All-American Fishing Derby.

The 18th annual event, sponsored locally by the Optimist Club of Clovis, will be held at the back lake of Ned Houk Park.

Participants will be divided into six groups by age. Event coordinator Jeff Baum said children ages 5 through 16 are welcome to participate.

“We always have a good turnout,” Baum said. “We expect to have around 100 kids show up to fish.”

According to Baum, last year’s participants caught 327 fish. He said some choose to catch and release while others opt to make their catch the night’s supper.

Baum said the fishing derby is an opportunity for families to spend time together and teach children the sport and recreation of fishing.

“We want to get them hooked on fishing,” Baum said, “instead of other things.”

Optimist Club member David Rael agrees,

“This (fishing derby) is really a family affair,” Rael said, “grandmas and grandpas even come to watch.”

Prizes will be given for the biggest fish, the combined weight of fish and the most fish caught of any kind. The prize selection will include rods and reels, tackle boxes, camping chairs and flashlights, Rael said.

There is no registration fee and a fishing license is not required, Baum said.

Even the wet-behind-the-ears fishermen will walk away with a goody bag filled with hooks, bobbers and coupons. The young fishermen will also receive a healthy snack and bottled water to beat the heat.

The Kids All-American Web site offers secret tips for young anglers. The current tip says to stay cool by planning fishing trips early in the day. The site also recommends placing ice in the minnow bucket and putting nightcrawlers in a small cooler to keep bait fresh.

What: Kids All-American Fishing Derby
When: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday
Registration: 8:30 a.m.
Where: Ned Houk Park
Age group: 5 to 16