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CATCHING MEMORIES: Record number of kids attend Fishing Day

The sun was hot, a bee buzzed overhead Bray-Bray Wadley had not yet caught a fish but a smile spread across his young face that said, “Who cares?” Bray-Bray was fishing with his granddad, Edward Davis, and he was as happy as if he had a stringer of fish a mile long.

Bray Bray was one of a bunch of kids who spent their Saturday morning on the banks of John and Carol Dorrill’s catfish pond at Pronto. Many of them celebrated Father’s Day weekend with their days “at the pond.”

A record number of kids registered at Pike County Kids Fishing Day at Clay Hills Farms Saturday morning. And, to a one, they took home something for supper. For some of the youngsters, it was a stringer of good eating-size catfish. For others, little butterbean-catfish just the right size for a hoecake, and for one youngster, a large-angry snapping turtle.

Lathan Woods pulled in the snapping turtle which was the biggest catch of the day.

“I thought I was hung on a log but it was this big ol’ mean turtle,” Lathan said. “He could bite my hand off.”

Lathan said he would turn the turtle over to his grandmother and they would have turtle one night for supper.

Jerry Jinright, conservation officer for Pike County, said 100 youngsters between the ages of five and 15 registered for the free kids’ fishing day.

“And that was the largest number of kids we have ever had,” Jinright said. “They caught a total of 161 catfish weighing 140 pounds. Saturday was a great day for fishing. The weather was perfect and everyone had a good time.”

John Dawson was the big fisherman with a 12 –pound stringer. John also won the five to eight-age group with his stringer. J.D. Tillery won the 9-12 age group with a stringer that weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces. Kimberly Owens was the winner in the 13-15 age group with a total of 9 pounds and 5 ounces.

The agreement, among the winners and the others who caught big ones was that the heavy stringers or the big one that got away, was that Magic Bait’s chicken livers with chicken blood was the bait of the day.

Walmart donated two $50-gift certificates to be used toward the purchase of bicycles. The winners were chosen by a drawing of the names of the kids who registered for the free fishing day. Zalaiya Reynolds, age five, and Trinity Thornton, age 10, were the winners.

Each kid who registered received a ticket and prizes were awarded in a drawing. The prizes included outdoor equipment made possible by a donation from the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association.

The prizes included rods and reels, tackle boxes, cricket boxes, fishing lines, turkey calls and other items for outdoors fun.

Walmart provided a sack lunch for the kids to round out a memorable fishing day.

Pike County Kids Fishing Day is sponsored and hosted by Walmart, Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association and the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. The event is partially funded by the Federal Sport Fish Restoration Program.

Appreciation was expressed by all to John and Carol Dorrill for their long support of Pike County Kids Fishing Day and for sharing their Clay Hill Farms pond as the site for the annual event.