Kent Island Elks Fishing Derby sets new records
STEVENSVILLE — On Tuesday, July 4, the Kent Island Elks, Lodge 2576, and the Natural Resources Police Reserve Officers held their 14th annual Children’s Free Fishing Derby at Terrapin Park Freshwater Pond in Stevensville. This year a record number of children, 237, fished, topping the 2010 record of 203. They caught a record humber of fish, 730.
This is a Catch & Release program, so each fish caught had to be taken to one of several check-in tables around the pond, where it was identified by species and measured, then released back into the pond by NRP Reserve Officers. The pond is kept stocked with a variety of fish year round — catfish, large mouth bass, sunfish, yellow perch and blue gill are the most popular catches.
Sponsors for the event continue to be Bass Pro Shops, Rita’s Ice Kent Island, Kent Island Subway, and McDonald’s restaurants, National Fallen Firefighters, Mike’s Bait in Maryland, and Pepsi Bottling Ventures.
This year, Bass Pro Shops provided 100 loaner fishing rods for children who did not have their own to fish with and another 100 used fishing rods to be distributed to children so they could have their own rod to continue fishing after the derby.
Bass Pro Shops of Hanover representatives Jerry Sauter and Caitlyn Nicodemi were present at this year’s derby. In years past, Sauter has stated, “This is the best children’s fishing derby I’ve ever seen!”
Many local businesses also contributed silent auction items to help fund next year’s derby. Following the three-hour competition, 8 to 11 a.m, several educational and entertaining activities took place.
Queen Anne’s County Sheriff Gary Hofmann gave a brief but direct talk to the children who were present about opioid abuse and how deadly drug use has become. Following that, the Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit put on a demonstration on how dogs are used in apprehending law breakers and sniffing out illegal drugs.
A special “Save A Life” lifesaving water boat jacket game was played using real lifeboat jackets, and talking about why everyone going out on boats should be wearing a lifejacket. Winners of the “Patriotic Attire Contest” were recognized, both adult and youth, and finally, the many awards for the fishing derby were presented.
The following youth were the top winners from all three categories in four different age group divisions: Ages 3 to 7 Largest Fish: Lucas Riddlee, 14 1/2 inch Large Mouth Bass
Smallest Fish: Derek Parker, 3 1/4 inch Blue Gill
Most Fish Caught: Noah Waller, 11 fish Ages 8 to 9 Largest Fish: Sawyer Hightower, 11 3/4 inch Catfish
Smallest Fish: Aidan Winfield, 3 1/4 inch Blue Gill
Most Fish: Summer Hooper, 37 fish Ages 10 to 11 Largest Fish: Saylor, 15 inch Mouth Bass
Smallest Fish: Dominic Marsico, 3 1/4 inch Blue Gill
Most Fish: 43 fish Ages 12 to 15 Largest Fish: Rebecca Merkel, 11 1/2 inch Yellow Perch
Smallest inch Crappie
Most Fish: 34 fish
Grand Prize Winner was Allison Saylor for catching the largest fish of the day, Henry Ball, Fish: Allison Large 3 1/4 Cooper Hightower, the 15-inch Large Mouth Bass.
Each child received a trophy and fishing gear for prizes. The Elks annual goal for the derby is to promote a day of family togetherness. They offered their thanks to event Co-Chairs Kevin and Mike Kelly, both Elks members and brothers.
This year’s derby was dedicated to the memory of Past Kent Island Exalted Ruler John Wisniewski, a longtime supporter of the derby, and KI Elks Scholarship Program for graduating local high school seniors.
The winners of the 14th annual KI Elks Children’s Free Fishing Derby hold their trophies and fishing gear following the event Tuesday afternoon, July 4. Children shown include, in no particular order, Allison Sanger, Rebecca Merkel, Alex Wagenmann, Cooper Hightower, Henry Ball, Sawyer Hightower, Aidan Winfield, Summer Hooper, Lucas Riddlee and Noah Waller. Longtime sponsors Bass Pro Shops representatives Jerry Sauter and Caitlyn Nicodemi are in the background, and to the far right, Elks Drug Prevention Mascot “Elmo” along with Natural Resources Police Reserve Officer/Elk member Kevin Kelly and KI Elks Exalted Ruler Angela Meyer. Winners Dominic Marsico and Derek Parker were not available for the picture.
Following the fishing derby, children were entertained and educated by members of the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit on how dogs can be used to apprehend law breakers and sniff out drugs.
Winners of the “Most Patriotic Attire Contest” held during the annual KI Elks Childrens Free Fishing Derby, Tuesday, July 4, in Stevensville. From the left, adult winner Patricia Duval of Annapolis, the Elks Drug Prevention Mascot “Elmo” and youth winner Ryder Rives, 10, of Paducah, Kentucky, who was here visiting his grandparents, Pete and Arlene Merrell of Stevensville.
Annabelle Moon, 9, of Wye Mills, shows one of the fish she caught during the 14th annual KI Elks Children’s Free Fishing Derby, Tuesday, July 4, at Terrapin Park Freshwater Pond in Stevensville. Annabelle was one of the 237 children who joined in the fun.
One of the 730 fish caught during the Kent Island Elks 14th annual Children’s Free Fishing Derby, Tuesday morning, July 4, at the Terrapin Freshwater Pond in Stevensville is measured.