Families flock to Jones County reservoir for Kids Fishing Derby

lfabian@macon.comMay 31, 2014 

  • Fishing derby winners

    Ages 3-5
    Nicholas Visage — 6 pounds, 5 ounces
    Turner Howell — 5 pounds, 14 ounces
    Sienna Brackett — 1 pound, 12 ounces

    Ages 6-9
    Jayson Elliott — 8 pounds, 4 ounces — Grand Prize
    Sierra Leuenberger — 7 pounds, 7 ounces
    Brook Brown — 5 pounds, 11 ounces

    Ages 10-13
    Jordan Ussery —- 8 pounds, 1 ounce
    Chandler Ross — 6 pounds, 4 ounces
    Cory Hill — 5 pounds, 13 ounces

    Ages 14-16
    Mureo Lowe — 8 pounds, 3 ounces
    Austin Leuenberger — 6 pounds, 6 ounces
    Alexia Lester — 5 pounds, 6 ounces

    Smallest Fish
    Ty’ Kerria Burnett — 2 ounces

Jayson and Kacen Elliot found the sweet spot Saturday in the stocked catfish pond at Javors Lucas Lake.

The 8-year-old Byron twins caught more than 20 fish. Dad thinks it is twice that much. They lost track and couldn’t easily count the fish piled up in the large family cooler.

By a whisker, Jayson’s 8-pound-4-ounce catch won the Macon Water Authority’s annual Kids Fishing Derby.

Not only does he get a freezer full of fish to take home, but he won an iPad with a case, an Atlanta Braves baseball package worth more than $300 and two trophies.

About 400 children registered for the free competition to lure families to spend time together on the water.

Mist was rising from two stocked ponds as youngsters and adults lined up on the banks at Javors Lucas Lake, the Town Creek Reservoir.

About a week ago, 3,000 pounds of catfish were brought in, said Tony Rojas, executive director of the Macon Water Authority.

“The whole idea is to have kids have fun catching fish,” Rojas said.

Brook Brown was excitedly jumping up and down on the water’s edge when her 5-pound, 11 ounce grass carp was unhooked.

“Yeah, I catched the fish,” the 6-year-old from Warner Robins said. “That’s the biggest fish I caught.”

A much smaller catfish had snagged her line earlier, but she surrendered the pole.

Reeling in the carp to the cheers of those around her got Brook hooked.

“I want to get another one,” she said, and her mother started baiting her hook.

Her efforts paid off as the third place winner for 6- to 9-year-olds.

“Awesome,” said Maxie Smith, Brook’s neighbor who invited the family to the event. “I got really excited for her.”

Smith, who caught a 9-pound bass at a private pond recently, developed her love for fishing when she met her husband 13 years ago.

“He turned me on to fishing and I haven’t looked back,” Smith said. “We go fishing at least once a week.”

The couple asked nearly a dozen kids to join them Saturday.

Many children were fishing for the first time at the annual derby that encourages families to teach their children to fish.

“I just think it’s an outdoor recreation for the whole family,” said Gary McCoy, MWA’s water treatment director. “Even if they don’t catch one single fish, it’s bringing unity to the family.”

Kiley Hill, 10, who fishes regularly at Lake Wildwood, only caught one small fish from the bridge.

“That little one-pounder felt like 70 pounds,” said Kiley, who was hoping she’d have better luck catching a door prize.

Trophies and prizes go to the top three fish in four age categories with a grand prize for the largest catch of the day, which started at the crack of dawn.

Little Anna and Caleb Sneed ate breakfast in the car traveling from Gray toward Macon as the sun came up.

“I already know how to fish,” 5-year-old Anna said as she grabbed her gear from the back of her parents’ SUV.

When asked how big a fish she was going to catch, she spread her hands out wider than her body and said, “100 pounds.”

Her 3-year-old brother reels in his line as soon as he casts it, she said.

“One time he got caught on a rock so he really doesn’t know how,” Anna said.

To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service