Second annual fishing derby provides family fun

Saturday, June 30, 2012 | 8:33 p.m. CDT; updated 7:11 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 5, 2012
Columbia Parks and Recreation and the Missouri Department of Conservation co-sponsored the second annual fishing derby at A. Perry Philips Park on Saturday morning.

An earlier version of this story misidentified Ramesh Chandrani. He took his children to the derby.

COLUMBIA — The second annual fishing derby at A. Perry Philips Park Lake took place Saturday morning and provided an opportunity for families to spend time in nature. 

With orange-and-white bobbers floating on the water and dragonflies buzzing around, 37 people registered to partake in the fun.

Bob Sutter volunteered at the fishing derby this year because he feels it's a good experience for people, he said.

"There's a decline in fishing, along with hunting," Sutter said. "It's sad. At this event children learn skills they don't learn in urban life." 

Heather Hennkens has been fishing since she was a little kid and feels it's time to share the experience with her son. 

"I've been fishing all my life," Hennkens said. "I used to go to my grandparents. They would get us up really early, like 3 o'clock in the morning — it was totally, totally dark. We would sleep the whole drive and they would wake us up when we got there. I grew up liking it a lot and I wanted to teach him. But we're just getting started." 

Erin Carrillo, a Parks and Recreation employee, brought her boyfriend's children, Ava Friesz, 6, and Ayren Friesz, 10, out to enjoy the free event, co-sponsored by Columbia Parks and Recreation and the Missouri Department of Conservation. The brother and sister enjoyed fishing at the derby.

"I brought them out because the kids really like fishing," Carrillo said. "It's a good, free, community event."

Families, stringing lines with bait and bobbers, were positioned around the banks of the lake and the docks. Although the bait didn't help everybody at the derby, they still enjoyed the day.

Ramesh Chandrani* said he was excited about having something outdoors for the kids to do. 

"It's nice to introduce the kids to fishing and the health benefits of it and to nature," Chandrani said.

Chandrani ended up catching a 12-and-a-half-inch fish — the longest catch of the day for an adult.

Steve Evers and Courtney Deters, recreation specialists, planned the derby and said they weren't sure what to expect in the heat. 

"It's good to get families out," Evers said. "We were kind of afraid it would just be us sitting around. It gives an opportunity to show off the relatively new lake."

In 2006 construction began on the A. Perry Philips Park, and in 2011, the first fishing derby took place.

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