28th Annual Kids’ Fishing Derby a Real “Bluegill Blast!”

By Doug Painter

When the siren went off promptly at 9 a.m., 136 worms flew and flip-flopped through the air as island youngsters simultaneously cast their baits into the Kids’ Fishing Lagoon marking the beginning of the 2024 Kid’s Fishing Derby (KFD). The event took place on Saturday, May 25 and was sponsored by the Skidaway Island Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). Not 10 seconds into the event, both Charlie Dees and Erik Oliver landed nice bluegills, setting an exceptionally successful tone for one of our island’s oldest and favorite outdoor traditions.

“What a Derby,” exclaimed KFD Chair Tom Rood!  “We were just 13 participants shy of our all-time record, and with 592 fish caught, we fell just short of our 2013 record of 615 fish brought in. Notably, we did establish a new record for first time anglers with 61 youngsters signing up for their inaugural derby. This bodes well for our future.”

New this year was our BLUEGILL BONANZA, which featured 10 tagged bluegills. Any youngster catching a tagged fish during the Derby would receive a $100 Bass Pro gift certificate. No tagged fish were caught but wait until next year!        

Everyone was treated to an angling feat of another kind when an osprey plunged into the Kids’ Lagoon during the Derby and emerged with a nice bluegill in its talons. Perhaps sensing the audience, the osprey took a victory lap around the lagoon before heading off with its lunch.

“It is a true to life example that CCA Skidaway’s efforts to improve fishing in our lagoons also benefits our native wildlife,” noted Rood.

Rood went on to thank the more than 30 CCA volunteers that helped with the Derby, as well as The Landings Association’s Natural Resources Manager Greg Freeman and his Public Works team who got the lagoon grounds especially presentable for all our participants and attendees.

“It’s great to see all the smiles on these youngster’s faces, “especially on those who caught a fish for the first time,” concluded Rood.

CCA Skidaway is active in a wide range of programs to improve our fisheries and other marine resources, while also encouraging new and more active participation in fishing. For more information, please visit ww.CCASidaway.org.

This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website.

Visit landings.org to read the original article.