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Annual derby brings out young anglers

Eight-year-old Alan “Trey” Henderson said if he couldn’t make apet of the catfish he caught Saturday, he was going to make it intofish sticks.

“It’s my second time fishing,” he said while enjoying the annualFishing Derby the pond next to the Hansel King Sports Complex. “Andwhen I caught that fish, it was like, ‘Cool!’ But I thought hemight pull me into the water.”

But Henderson said he had a great plan for landing his bigcatch.

“Well, I wanted to pull him out of the water before he pulled mein,” he said.

Henderson, who attended the fishing derby with his parents,Victoria and Willie Henderson, was one of almost 100 people at thefishing derby, sponsored by the Department of Wildlife, Fisheriesand Parks, and the Brookhaven Recreation Department.

“We’ve been doing this at least four years,” said ConservationOfficer Sheila Hynum. “And this is a pretty good turnout.”

Brookhaven Recreation Department Director Terry Reid agreed thatattendance was well up from past years.

“This is about double from last year,” said Reid, adding thatthe event is a good one for parents and kids to have specialbonding time together. “This is quality family time, and we do itto give the kids a good outdoor experience to kick off thespring.”

Brookhaven Parks Commission member Woody Breland said the eventis also a chance for kids to gain new experiences in somecases.

“There are a lot of these kids that have never caught a fishbefore,” he said. “I can tell you one thing, I know they all hadfun today.”

Reid said the event was funded through a grant obtained throughthe Wildlife and Fisheries department, thus the entire event waswithout cost to anyone, except some volunteer hours by theRecreation and Wildlife and Fisheries departments.

“When you get the grant, they bring you 1,000 one- tothree-pound catfish to stock the lake,” said Reid. “And the gamewardens have been good enough to volunteer to help us out here,too.”

As for bait to catch the fish, Henderson said he uses hot dogsso he doesn’t have to hook the worms. That wasn’t his only fishingadvice for beginners.

“I would tell you to be safe, and always wear a life jacket,” hesaid. “Also, never throw a hook out without someone watching.

‘And the most important thing of all is never put a fish in acooler without water in it, because he might jump out.”