By Kim Odom
All was cool, quiet and still on the water until the lines were cast at Lakeland’s Annual Children’s Fishing Rodeo, Saturday, May 14, 2022, at IH Park. Bait hit the water, right on cue, when Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), Shelby County wildlife officer, Andy Tweed, emcee of the rodeo, announced, “Ready, Set, Fish!” It was game on for the young anglers coming out for the event.
All in all, it was a great day to fish. If you were in a hot spot, it was a really great day to fish. In the first hour, ten-year-old, Payton Lee, caught more than 8 catfish, and among them was an albino catfish. She was there with her Nana, Carol Davidson. “My Nana taught me to fish,” shared Payton. “We fish all the time.”
Brady Wong, 10, and his sister, Morgan, 7, reeled in a mess of fish Saturday morning using chicken liver as bait. “That was the plan,” said dad, Michael. “They’ll catch them, we’ll keep them, and I’ll cook them. They are keeping me busy.”
Hundreds of pounds of catfish were reeled in. Once counted and measured by TWRA officer Jeff Peach, the following winners were declared:
Andrew Qui had a very successful day of fishing. The 12 year old went home with the “Longest Fish Caught,” and “Most Fish Caught (Boy),” trophies.
Leila Helbling caught the most fish of anybody at the Fishing Rodeo. The 8 year old strung up 17 catfish and took home the “Most Fish Caught (Girl)” trophy.
Thanks goes out to the TWRA for donating 400-lbs of catfish and the Lakeland Lion’s Club for donating 500-lbs of catfish for the event. Special thanks go out Andy Tweed and Jeff Peach for officiating the fishing rodeo again this year. The Children’s Fishing Rodeo was hosted by Lakeland’s Parks & Recreation Department, with assistance from Public Works staff.