Remember that old song that goes “You’ll get a line and I’ll get a pole, honey?” While that tune may be about hunting for crawdads, it is fish that will be what children will try to catch at this year’s fishing derby, organized by the McPherson Recreation Commission.
The 11th annual McPherson Community Youth Fishing Derby will be held Aug. 5 at Shelters 5 and 6 in Lakeside Park, 100 N. Lakeside Drive in McPherson.
The first 150 children to register will receive a gift bag. Children will compete in three age groups — 6 and under, 7 to 11 and 12 to 15 — to reel in the longest fish. Prizes for the top three anglers in every category will be awarded, including two bicycles.
“They’re all measured; it’s all catch and release,” noted event organizer Lyle Starr.
Prizes will also be awarded for the most fish caught, longest bass, longest catfish and first turtle caught.
Starr said there are plenty of fish including carp and bluegill waiting to be caught in the pond.
“We just stocked it Tuesday with channel catfish,” Starr said.
There is always the chance of hooking a more unusual species. One year, a participant reeled in a Jack Dempsey cichlid, a tropical fish that had likely started out as a pet and was released into the pond.
“Occasionally, there’s an odd fish caught,” Starr said. “I’ve seen a gold fish caught, I’ve seen all kinds of things caught.”
The event is special to Starr, who has organized it for the past 11 years.
“It’s something they had when I was a kid. I wanted to bring it back and I had the opportunity to do that,” Starr said. “It’s important to me to have it for the community and it’s even easier now with the city helping.”
The mild weather forecast for this weekend will make the activity more enjoyable.
“The temperature’s going to be fantastic. We’ve done it before when it was 110,” Starr said. “We’re just hoping it’s not going to rain.”
Children must bring their own fishing equipment. There is a limit of two poles. Live bait can be used. Parents are allowed to help reel fish in.
“It’s more about fun than competition,” Starr said.
Whistling a fishing tune is optional.
There is no registration fee for children to participate in the Fishing Derby.
Check in at the Fishing Derby will take place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. with a rules meeting starting at 4:40 p.m. Fishing is open from 5 to 7 p.m.
The awards ceremony will be held at 7 p.m., with free hot dogs, chips and water given out to participants.
For more information about the fishing derby or to volunteer to help, call Lyle Starr at 620-242-6511.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.