Local anglers cast their lines into the north lake at Clayton County International Park during last year's Fishing Derby. This year's event will take place on Saturday, with awards being given to the child catching the longest fish, the heaviest fish, and the first albino fish.
By Joel Hall
The north lake at Clayton County International Park will be brimming with brim, crawling with catfish, and bountiful with bass for the park's annual Fishing Derby.
Saturday, from 8 a.m., to noon, local youngsters will be at the park trying to catch the longest, largest, and rarest fish. Children, ages 13 and under, will be allowed to participate in the free event, which is coordinated by the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department.
The event gives parents and children time to slow down, and enjoy a group activity, said Clayton County International Park Administrator Troy Stubbs. "With how busy everybody's schedules are, a lot of families aren't able to spend time together," he said. "One parent has to go one way, one parent has to go the other way. This allows the family to designate a whole day for the family to be together. Every year, we've gotten more kids to come out and participate, and this year, we feel like we are going to have even more."
Registration for the Fishing Derby will begin at 8 a.m., with the competition starting at 9 a.m. Awards will be given in four age divisions to anglers able to reel in the longest fish, or the heaviest fish, and a special award will be given to the first child to catch an albino catfish, according to Stubbs.
Amy Keeney, marketing and sales manager for the Parks and Recreation Department, said the north lake at International Park is stocked once a year, in January, for the Fishing Derby. During the rest of the year, fishing is limited to the park's south lake, she said.
Keeney said the event gives children an experience that is rare in the Southern Crescent, where public fishing areas are at a premium. "There are a lot of private lakes in the area," Keeney said. "You might have to drive a little ways to Lake Lanier or Jackson Lake to get to a public lake. This gives the children an opportunity to fish. It gives an outdoor experience to the community, because a lot of people around here haven't gone fishing before."
In addition to fishing, the Reynolds Nature Preserve will host several live nature exhibits, featuring snakes, turtles and other animals, according to Stubbs. He said a group of private falcon breeders will also have several of the birds on display.
Visitors to the Fishing Derby will receive prizes just for being there, he said, including free fishing rods to the first 20 kids to register, free passes to "The Beach" at International Park for the first 100 people to show up, and free T-shirts to the first 200 people to show up.
All participants will be given Chick-fil-A lunch coupons, he said. All children wishing to participate must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call (770) 477-3766.