AVON LAKE, OH – They say timing is everything and that definitely proved true today. I had stumbled across an event on Facebook for a “Fall Fishing Derby” and it happened to be on a day I had promised my son we would go fishing. Also making it worthwhile, was that I occasionally get asked about Walker Road Park and I had never been able to give a direct report regarding it. Making my son happy while being at a new venue on a beautiful September Saturday, seemed like a great way to spend a few hours. Little did I know, the day would end up rather memorable.
I am not certain how many years they have done this derby, but the personable friendly staff and volunteers made it easy for me to see why the event was so well attended. In fact, it was downright amazing considering the derby overlapped with the start of an Ohio State football game! The event was sponsored by The City of Avon Lake, the Avon Lake Parks & Recreation Department, and Avon Lake Boat Club. Awards and Raffle prizes were donated by Cabelas and Dairy Queen. If I am incorrect or have any omissions, please leave a comment or let me know on the CoolWaterFish Facebook Page. A HUGE thank you to all of them!
I’ve learned there is often a lot in common between the adults who attend these events. I guess a kinship in finding the recreation of fishing to be fun and the value of doing it with your kid(s). I almost always make friends with those fishing near me and this date would be no exception. The photo above was a few of our new friends and I love the watchful eye of dad as his daughter mastered casting. It makes me wish my daughter would have attended, but sadly the lure of shopping with mommy won out over catching “slimy fish”.
In what has become the norm, Bryce spends more time capturing critters on the shoreline as he does actually fishing. This includes netting small fish, crayfish, tadpoles, snails, frogs, toads, or anything else he can find. The actual fishing is usually me yelling “hey your bobber is going under” as he runs back to the rod only to have the bait stolen. This repeats over and over until some unfortunate fish manages to gorge itself on a worm enough to get the point of the hook in it’s mouth. More than half of the event was over before something other than that finally happened. We had one rod tight lined off the bottom, which got a much stronger strike than the small Bluegill that were playing with the offerings under the bobber. This time, the fish was solidly hooked. Bryce fought the fish to shore, where I assisted with the net. We did a quick High-Five and then ran to a judging table.
With most people fishing under a float, the plentiful Bluegill were the typical catch. Bryce only caught that single fish, but due to bottom fishing, ended up getting the Channel Catfish. He was excited to learn that his fish was rumored to be the largest caught for the day, and I know it seemed an eternity for him to wait (asking me every 5 minutes if the derby was over) until it was confirmed during the awards/raffle ceremony. He received some nice fishing swag and everyone was very kind in congratulating him. The event organizers did a real nice job recognizing winners while also validating every child there and the efforts they made to catch fish. The focus truly was about family and getting outdoors together. I firmly believe that is more important than any single fish, even a derby winning 14.5″ Channel Catfish.
One very happy boy!
Once again, thank you to everyone involved with this fishing derby. It was very well organized and we would have had a great time whether we caught a fish or not. We hope to be back in 2020!
UPDATE: A special thank you to Mayor Greg Zilka for acknowledging this post, seen here.