9th kids' fishing derby held

SNELLVILLE - Seth Lindsey pulled back on his Superman rod-and-reel, turning the crank as fast as his 5-year-old fingers would let him.

A fish thrashed at the end of the line, but it broke free just as it got to the bank of the lake at Briscoe Park.

"I almost got it," Seth beamed at his mother, as his grandfather readjusted the bait on his hook.

The family fishing outing turned out to be a community event, as more than 100 kids competed Saturday in Snell-ville's ninth annual Children's Fishing Derby.

Kathi Clotfelter, special events coordinator for the city, said the early morning rain did little to dampen spirits, and actually got the fish biting early.

But some kids weren't so lucky.

Justice Peay, 12, said he wouldn't be happy until he reeled in a big one, but James Jones, a father-figure to the boy, said fishing could teach him a big lesson.

"That's one thing he needs, patience," Jones said. "He just needs to get out and enjoy it."

Every kid came away with a prize Saturday, even if they didn't catch a fish.

Of course, the kid who caught the biggest fish - Samuel Shipp, 12, who caught a 2-pound, 9 ouncer - got a plaque. But so did the 4-year-old who caught the smallest fish - a half-ouncer reeled in by Angel Milletich.

Shea Bonacci, 6, was awarded for catching the first fish of the day, and Maxim Badea got the biggest haul - 14 fish.

With a half-hour of the derby left, Elaina McCaffrey, 9, was still waiting for her first bite.

"I don't think they put enough fish in the lake," the junior fisherwoman said. "I got little nibbles."