Kids reel in good times at annual fishing derby

MARYSVILLE — The 15th Annual Fishing Derby, at the Kiwanis Pond in Jennings Park May 2, was almost too popular for its own good, as fishing families literally lined the banks of the pond all around, so thick that the biggest obstacle to catching a fish was the risk of competing fishers’ lines catching each other as they were cast out.

A lack of either fish or fishing poles certainly proved to be no problem as the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club stocked the pond with approximately $750 worth of fish the night before and the club joined John Martinez, of John’s Sporting Goods, in supplying close to 100 fishing poles. Members of the Marysville Kiwanis Club estimated that they served close to 400 pancake breakfasts during the morning, while city of Marysville Park Maintenance Manager Mike Robinson estimated that as many as 700 attendees, if not more, stopped by throughout the three-hour event, yielding a haul of approximately 300 pounds of food for the Marysville Community Food Bank.

“They provide poles, bait and know-how so that kids can come and catch fish even if they’re not savvy fishermen,” Robinson said of the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club members. He added that Marysville City Council members John Soriano, Carmen Rasmussen and Lee Phillips were also on hand to help coordinate the event.

This year marked Jennifer Gilbert’s first Fishing Derby, and she was glad to have brought her three children, as well as her sister’s two children, after reading about it in a city of Marysville Parks and Recreation flier. When she learned that fishing poles would be lent out for free, she was hooked.

“It’s been great,” Gilbert said. “We barely got our lines in the water and the fish were biting right away. We were reeling away and the kids were having a blast.”

Even the occasional overcast lines weren’t too much trouble, as Gilbert credited her fellow fishing families with doing their best to help untangle each other’s lines.

“It’s a wonderful experience for first-time fishers,” Gilbert said. “Everyone’s very family oriented here and helping the kids out. It’s definitely something I’d try again.”

Mike Snook has been “trying it again” since his daughter was 2 years old, and took her to her sixth consecutive Fishing Derby at the age of 8 this year. He and his brother had already started fishing at Kiwanis Pond when his daughter was only a year old, so when he heard about the Fishing Derby in The Marysville Globe, it seemed like a natural fit.

“We all sit down to eat breakfast together, then we come back here to the pond and see people we’ve seen in previous years,” Snook said. “As my daughter gets older, she’s got more friends who come and we tell everyone else to come. Instead of sleeping in on a Saturday and being lazy, you get up, get fish and eat.”

Snook sees the tangling of fishing lines as a natural consequence of “a lot of kids fishing and getting excited,” but he considers it a small price to pay.

“We’re done now and we’ve already had plenty of fun for today,” Snook said. “I don’t know what we’ll do when my daughter turns 12.”

Logan Northup, a 12-year-old from Everett, made it in just under the age limit for his first, and last, Fishing Derby this year.

“Once you get going, there’s getting your bait on, and when you cast your line out, you have to learn how to cast,” said Northup, who was brought to the Fishing Derby by his grandfather. “Once you get the hang of it, though, it’s really fun. I’d fished for a little bit, and my bait kept coming off, and I kept casting over other people’s lines, but when my grandfather went to go talk to somebody, I got my line in the water and it started to wiggle, so I reeled it in.”

Northup was proud of his fish, and enjoyed both the experience and the breakfast enough to recommend the event to other kids.

“It makes me want to come back,” Northup said.

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