FISHING DAY: Kids bring in record number of catfish

Published 4:00 am Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Pike County Kids’ Fishing Day at Clay Hill Farms Saturday netted 324 catfish weighing a total of 472 pounds. And, there could easily have been a few more kids and a few more fish, being that some folks skedaddled before the rain came.

Pike County Conservation Officer Jerry Jinright said the 324 fish caught set the record for the most fish caught at Pike County Kids Fishing Day and possibly for the largest number of pounds.

“John and Carol Dorrill are very gracious to offer their pond for our annual Kids’ Fishing Day,” Jinright said. “The pond is always well-stocked with catfish but, before each free Kids’ Fishing Day, the Dorrills have more catfish added just to make sure the kids have a good chance at catching fish. This year, they added about 200 catfish, each weighing a pound or a little more. A lot of big catfish were caught so that meant the kids were catching the fish that were already in the pond.”

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Seventy-two kids between the ages of five and 15 registered and prizes were awarded to the kid who caught the heaviest stringer of fish in each of the three age groups. The limit for each age group was 10 catfish.

In the 13-15 age group, Zenarion Flowers of Troy caught 10 fish weighing 21 pounds and 15 ounces. Garrison Smith of Dothan also caught the limit for the 9 to 12 age group. His stringer weighed 18 pounds and eight ounces. In the five to eight age group, Desmond Owens’ stringer of 10 fish weighed 22 pounds and 5 ounces. Desmond is also from Troy.

Jinright said Pike County Kids Fishing Day is held annually the Saturday before Father’s Day.

“A lot of dads took the opportunity to bring their kids fishing,” he said. “It’s always good to see families enjoying a day of fishing together.”

Chris Owens of Troy was fishing with his daughter Alaina and son Jaxon.

“This is a good event and I thought I would bring them out and give it a try,” Owens said, adding it was worth the effort. “We’ve had a good time and it’s been a good day out of the house for us.”

All of the dads who were fishing with their kids expressed the same sentiment as Dereck Wilhelm who said spending time with his son, Taylor, made Father’s Day weekend special and memorable.

Some of the kids were fishing with other special people in their lives. Jariya Scott was fishing with her Aunt Deloris Scott and, if giggles tell tales, then Jariya and Aunt Deloris were having lots of fun “fishing for cats.”

And, fishing with grandpas can be fun, too, because they always have fish tales to tell.

Nate Smith came over from Georgia to go fishing. He reeled in a monster catfish he immediately named Moby Dick. Then, along came his grandpa Charles Salter of Troy stringing a fish tale a mile long.

When Salter was in the Army in1966, his platoon was on maneuvers and halted at a culvert that was deep and wide with icy water. Having little else to do, Salter made a fishing pole from a stick. He found a string and fashioned a hook from a safety pin. He used hotdogs for bait and caught enough fish in the culvert pool to feed the entire platoon of soldiers – about 29 of them.

The kids who were listening to Salter’s fish tale have yet to learn that a fish tale is always bigger than the biggest fish on the stringer.

Jinright thanked all of those who participated in Pike County Kids Fishing Day at Clay Hill Farm and those who made it possible, especially the Dorrills and Walmart Alabama, the Conservation Enforcement Officers Association, the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division and the Federal Sport Fish Restoration Program. A special thanks to the Pike County Chamber’s Farm City Committee for its assisting with registration and assisting with lunch, and, of course, the parents, grandparents and others who came fishing with the kids.