Steve's pastime of choice involves a rod and reel. Most would call that fishing...but maybe that's because they aren't used to catching. And, he is never more happy then when he is sharing his passion for catching with kids. Last Saturday we met up with my longtime friend, Barb, and her kids for the 11th Annual DesPeres Youth Fishing Derby. An opportunity for family fun, but also a time for Megan (Barb's oldest) and Natalie to defend their titles from last year's competition.
We arrived on-time and prepared. While Steve made sure all of the poles were ready for action, Barb, had purchased one of everything from Schnucks' snack aisle. Although Barb had assured Steve that she'd bring the hotdogs (for bait), Steve wasn't sure about using her "all beef" franks. He had me bring along a pack of Aldi's finest - made up of turkey, chicken and pork parts.
Thus began the "Great Hot Dog De-bait".
At 8 a.m. on the dot, we heard the call to begin. Within minutes Lindsay was reeling in a 6.5" bluegill (caught with one of Barb's perfectly diced dogs) and soon after both Megan and Natalie had made similar catches -- though Steve had Nat use a piece of an Aldi wiener from a package he kept in his pocket. Of course this led to many jokes - namely "Is that a hotdog in your pocket?..." He and Barb spent most of the morning heckling each other especially when one of the kids caught a fish using their preferred frank.
In the end, Lindsay caught a whopping 213 inches of bluegill and won the total length award for the 6-9 year old division using all beef hotdogs. Natalie struggled with equipment failure throughout the competition (Steve ended up chucking her pole), but still had a good show with 82.5 inches of bluegill using Aldi dogs. But, it was Megan who drew attention from the crowds when she landed a 3+ lb., 20 inch catfish. Steve was so happy for Meggie, but more than that he relished the fact she had baited her hook with an Aldi dog. Megan won the biggest fish award and also earned the total length award for her age division with 166 inches of fish (4 cats and a bunch of bluegill), though she admitted to switching between the two brand of hotdogs throughout the morning to "throw the fish off guard." So, the jury is still out on which wiener performed better, but as any good fisherman will tell you...size really does matter.
|Because it's never good to fish on an empty stomach...or so I'm told.|
|Whoever said fishing isn't a spectator sport, failed to bring enough snacks.|
|"Ahh! These fish are greedy," grumped Natalie as another fish stole her bait.|
|"Look out for your eyeballs," warned Nat as she cast out.|
|"This fish is a fighter!" said Carter.|
|Whoops! Barb cast right into Jenna's hair.|
|Lindsay - our fishing fashionista|
|Barb accidentally hooked herself. Steve had to free her with one hand while his other held onto Lindsay's latest catch.|
|Lindsay shows off one of 30+ bluegill she caught...on her "lucky rock".|
|Steve had just happened to put 12 lb. line on Megan's rod...otherwise she never would have landed it.|
|While Steve helped Megan bring in her whopper - Lindsay caught yet another bluegill.|
|Steve estimated it weighed 3+ lbs.|
|"Um, we're gonna need a bigger ruler," said the scorekeeper.|
|My favorite shot as it captures good sportsmanship. While Natalie was bummed she lost, she was happy her friend won.|
|A good day for catching.|