With people lining the banks of City Park pond, more than 400 people cast lines and reeled in trout during the annual Fishing in the Park derby Saturday.
While all were invited to fish, the main contests were for children 12 and younger. No fishing experience or supplies were required, as poles and bait were provided by both Copperas Cove Parks and Recreation and the Copperas Cove Bass Club. The organizations co-sponsored the event with the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.
“We love coming out here for this event,” Parks and Recreation Director Andy Cedillo said. “It’s a bit warm for the fish, but I’m sure people will catch plenty.”
For the one-day event, Parks and Wildlife waived the fishing license requirement and allowed no limit to the number of fish anglers could catch.
“It’s great for the kids,” said Doug Emberton, who brought his grandchildren, Hailey and Caleb Emberton, to the derby.
Both children said they were excited to cast their lines into the pond and catch fish.
“You kiss the fishy for luck,” 5-year-old Hailey said. “If you kiss the fishy, you will catch more. They stink, though.”
Parks and Wildlife stocked the pond for the event. Parks and Recreation officials organized the fishing, and Copperas Cove Bass Club members offered pointers.
“It’s great to see this many people out here fishing,” said Ray Clary, bass club president. “The average age of fishermen is getting lower, and it is because of the younger generation getting involved.”
Bass club members spent the day untangling lines and providing bobbers and sinkers for children who needed them. They also measured the fish for the derby.
Also volunteering were North Pointe Church members, who handed out free hot dogs and chips. Coleman’s Shave Ice provided complimentary coffee and hot cocoa.
After the derby, the Patrick Hart, the winner of the 6 and younger age group, explained how he won.
“I did good,” Patrick said. “I didn’t mess up.”