MORGAN’S POINT RESORT — About 225 little fishermen covered the docks of Morgan’s Point Resort Marina on Saturday morning at the annual Kids Fishing Derby.
The contest, which is for children 12 and younger, is usually held the first Saturday in June, on Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Free Fish Day, said Morgan’s Point Resort Police Chief Charles Cline. It had to be postponed this year, because of flooding.
“The lake was at 12 feet high,” he said. “Once the lake went down, we started scheduling the event.”
Game wardens brought rods and reels to the derby for those without equipment, he said.
“If they lose a hook or whatever, they can go back and the game wardens will re-outfit them.”
Mikey’s Quick Stop on State Highway 317 helped with bait, he said.
“They can use whatever,” he said. “Some came out with their own tackle.”
TP&W and the MPR Fire Department were also giving the children boat rides. The Temple Elks Lodge No. 138 prepared hotdogs and snacks. Belton Feed and Supply provided fish food, which volunteers threw out beforehand, Cline said.
The police department plans and coordinates the derby, but it is a team effort, said Karen Stagner, president of the fire department auxiliary.
Bill Hillyard, an employee in the fishing department of Academy Sports and Outdoors, said the derby started in 2000 and has missed a couple of times because of flooding. He was measuring fish the children caught. Prize winning categories included Big Fish, Most Fish, Most Unusual Catch, and Smallest Fish.
“And we try to give something to the first person to catch a fish,” Cline said.
The prizes were rods and reels, tackle boxes and gift cards.
“It just helps kids get into fishing,” Cline said.
Gary Jourdan of Belton said his daughter, Harper, 4, had caught eight fish so far. These were perch and blue gill she caught down by the boat ramp, he said.
“She loves fishing,” he said. “She loves camping. She was really looking forward to this. She was pretty upset when they cancelled it. I told her they would have it again.”
“We’re about to get something to eat,” he said. “Then we’ll head back down to fish a little more. We’re using worms and bacon. It was a good turnout last year too. I think it’s something they need to continue doing.”
Aly Alven of Temple said her daughter Noelle, 2½, was mostly watching.
“She’s pretending real good,” she said. “We’ll see how it goes, get her interested. It’s a fun time outside with no electronics.”
Alven doesn’t fish. “I learned how to hook a worm,” she said. “We enjoyed the boat ride. That was really fun too.”
Jane Russo of Temple watched her two sons, Grayson, 4, and Tyler, 3, try their fishing skills. Grayson caught four and Tyler caught one, she said.
Their father, Nick, was helping them.
“He’s a fisherman, Jane Russo said. “I am an observer.”
This was their first time at the derby, since they just moved here, she said. “We’ll definitely come back next year. This is fun.”
Grayson said he was trying to catch a catfish.