• 73°

Catchin’ catfish: Fishing rodeo enjoyed by all

By Mark Rogers

Heavy rains the night before didn’t dampen the spirits of young anglers in Lowndes County last Saturday morning.

The 25th annual Free Kids Catfish Rodeo drew a large crowd to the Lowndes County Wildlife Management Area near White Hall.

As she pulled in her first fish ever, 12-year-old Jorjha Miree, who was fishing with her dad, Shine, and sister, McKenzie, 8, enjoyed the process.

“It feels good,” the Selma resident said as she pulled a large catfish from the pond. “This is my first one – ever.”

Ranger John Williams said the event, sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Alabama River Lakes and the Alabama Department of Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries, continues to be popular with area families.

“We started this a little more than 25 years ago,” Williams said. “We found this pond here and made it the location for the fishing rodeo every year. We have ages 15 and under and accompanied by their parents. We want them to be safe. They really enjoy it and we even have some refreshments out here for them.”

Rangers cooked hot dogs and served up chips and drinks as young fishers reeled in their catch.

“Everything is donated and Ziegler’s donated the hot dogs,” Johnson said. “Another individual donated the other items. We have some bobbers and few hooks for them. We ask everyone to bring their own pole and bait. They’ve been doing pretty good out here.  We have state workers helping us out and they come in  and help us every year.”

The fishing was good, according to Johnson.

“That family right down there has caught a few,” he concluded as he pointed to the pond. “They’ve been doing really good along the bank; they’ve been pulling them in. They come from Montgomery, Selma, White Hall — just about everywhere around. They really enjoy themselves and, so far, it’s worked out really well. We appreciated everybody that’s partnered with us to make it what it should be — a great family event.”