Gone fishin’

Summer events are in full swing as Bartlett youths
compete in the annual Children’s Fishing Rodeo

by Aarron Fleming
The Bartlett Express

On Saturday morning, the smell of fish and bait wafted from Appling Lake.

Parents and children ascended on the lake early dressed in shorts and flip flops, tank tops and crocs; toting coolers and umbrellas, a sign that a true Bartlett summer was back.

Little ones clutched their fishing poles and proudly displayed the strings of fish they had on their lines.

It was hot, but community members came in droves to participate in the rodeo which was canceled last

year due to the pandemic.

While normally open to the public, the lake was closed from June 1 until the day of the rodeo so that the children had plenty of fish to bag.

Classic country hits about fishing like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s, “Fishin’ In the Dark”, and Tim McGraw’s, “Don’t Take the Girl”, were the soundtrack for the event.

Because it started so early, it slowly got hotter as the rodeo came to a close. By the end of it, the heat had risen to the ’90s with a heat index of over 100.

To beat the heat, the EZ’s Water Ice and Sweet Treats truck visited to give fishers a sweet way to

cool down.

The temperature was high enough to fry the fish right on the lake, but it didn’t stop the kids from having a good time, winning some prizes, and catching a lot of fish.

Trophies were given out to the biggest winners of the day, but prizes were also given to several lucky

names that were picked in a random drawing.

The lucky winners went home with nerf footballs, fishing kits, tackleboxes, and even new fishing poles.

Bray Golden was the overall winner of the day with the most fish caught at an outstanding 11 total, the

heaviest string of fish at a whopping 22.21 lbs, and the biggest fish at a massive 7.31 lbs.

When asked what bait he used to reel in so many fish, Golden said his secret was simple: “worms and liver.”

A dad and his daughter sit on the lake waiting for a bite. The two arrived early, giving them the best chance at winning.

The winners from the rodeo. From left to right: Bray Golden, Jason Joyner, Lenox Washington, Blake Ballard and Jaylen Phann

Jason Joyner happily displaying his trophy that he won for having the heaviest string of fish in his age group. Joyner had the third heaviest string of fish for the day at a whopping 14.59 lbs.

A view of Appling Lake as fishers were setting up for the day. Many community members came out for the event which was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

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