Dozens of anglers vie for biggest catch at Clayton County fishing derby

Anglers vie for biggest catch at county derby

Phillip Hambrick Sr. checks his line during a fishing derby held at Clayton County International Beach last Saturday.

Phillip Hambrick Sr. checks his line during a fishing derby held at Clayton County International Beach last Saturday.

JONESBORO — Riley Braithwaite had never gone fishing before last weekend, but a gift from her godparents opened the door to new adventures.

Braithwaite, 4, received a small blue and yellow fishing pole as a present and her godparents — who include Clayton County Senior Services Interim Director Tori Strawter — began teaching her how to use it.

That got Riley itching to try out real fishing.

“She was practicing how to use the pole and her godparents told us about this derby so she wanted to try it,” said her mother, Danielle Braithwaite. “Whatever Riley wants to do, that’s what we’re going to do.”

The Braithwaite family were among the dozens of anglers who came to Clayton County International Park last Saturday for the county’s fishing derby. The fishermen lined the banks of the park’s big pond and waited for a catch.

For some participants, it was a family affair. Kwantez Dennis brought his twin sons, Kavon and Kylan Dennis, 6, to the event for a father and son fishing trip.

“I figured it was a good way to start Father’s Day weekend,” said Kwantez Dennis. “They’ve been wanting to go fishing for a while, so it seemed like a good time to do it.”

However, unless they were Riley Braithwaite — who caught two bream in the first two hours of the derby — they had to wait and wait some more. That’s because the fish weren’t in much of a biting mood on that day.

“They nibble and then they keep going,” said Phillip Hambrick Jr.

The fish made themselves so scarce that it slipped Shawn Samuels’ mind that he’d caught a catfish until his wife, Elizabeth, caught a second one hours later. He pulled a rope he intended to put the fish on out of the water and that’s when he discovered the previous catch.

“It’s been so slow, I forgot about that joker,” Samuels quipped to his wife.

But for several participants, the number of fish they caught was secondary to having the opportunity to kick back on a Saturday morning.

“I don’t care how much fish I catch,” said Hambrick Sr. “I’m just relaxing and having fun while I’m out here.”

Another fishing derby will be held at the park Aug. 2 from 8 a.m. until noon. The entry cost will be $5 and prizes will be awarded for heaviest catfish and bass.