(July 18, 2014) A free youth fishing tournament on Saturday, July 19 could draw as many as 100 participants.
The Ocean Pines Angler’s Club hosts the 18th annual Art Hansen Memorial Youth Fishing Contest at the South Gate Pond on Saturday.
“The guy that founded it, who the contest is named after, Art Hansen, he was the founder of the club and he started the tournament a number of years before that,” said organizer Walt Boge. “The club started when it was just six people sitting around a table and now we have about 135 members.”
Boge said the contest usually draws between 80 and 100 children.
“It depends on the weather, but it’s usually well-attended,” he said. “And it’s free and we provide all the bait and we fix the rods and reels up with hooks if they don’t have it.” Participants must provide their own rod and reel.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources stocks the pond with bluegills two days before the contest.
“There’s sunfish, bluegills, crappie you get every once in a while, and there’s large-mouth bass,” Boge said. “The large-mouth bass – they’ve caught them up to 18-19 inches before.”
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the contest runs from 9-10:30 a.m.
The Angler’s Club hands out awards in each age group to participants who catch the three largest fish and the most fish. Age groups are 4-7, 8-11 and 12-16. Each participant will receive a prize courtesy of the Ocean City/Berlin Optimist Club. The Angler’s Club will provide bottled water.
“Teach a Kid to Fish Day” on June 21 drew dozens of children in Ocean Pines, and Boge expects many of those participants to return.
“We set up a whole bunch of tables and taught kids how to tie knots and how to cast and how to handle a fish so it doesn’t die when you put it back in the water, which is important,” Boge said. “It seems to be a lot of fun and parents always enjoy it – although sometimes they help a little too much catching the fish.
“The whole idea is to get kids hooked on fishing,” Boge continued. “We hope they enjoy that aspect, and it’s a family event. We like to promote families working together fishing.”
For information, call 410-208-2855.