Lakeland fishing rodeo reels in a sunny day of family fun

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Alex Lewis, 5, caught 25 catfish and earned a trophy presented by TWRA Officer Andy Tweed in the category of Most Fish Caught – Boy.

More than 100 children, ages 4-12, woke extra-early Saturday morning, May 18 to cast awhile at Lakeland’s annual Children’s Fishing Rodeo, hosted at I.H. Park on Canada Road.
The young anglers hadn’t cast long before someone caught the first fish. It seemed like seconds into the first of seven 15-minute fishing sessions when seven-year-old Avery Simons of Lakeland and nine-year-old Leo Kimery of Millington had both reeled one in. Their catches earned them prizes for the First Fish Caught – Girl, and First Fish Caught – Boy categories. Six more girls and six more boys went on to earn prizes for first fish caught in each of the additional sessions.
The five-acre lake was stocked with 1,000 lbs. of catfish a couple of days before the event. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency donated half of the fish stocked, as well as many of the fishing rodeo’s prizes. Andy Tweed and Jeff Peach, TWRA officers, officiated at the event. The Lakeland Lions Club sponsored the event with a donation of $500.
“We are grateful to all of our sponsors for their generosity,” said Kevin Rooney, director of the Parks and Recreation Department for Lakeland. “We take pride in offering quality programs in our community. The fishing rodeo is a very popular event that attracts families to enjoy one of the amenities of I.H. Park.”
After approximately two hours, hundreds of catfish had been reeled to the bank. It was a hook, line and sinker kind of day for Alex Lewis, 5, of Lakeland, who earned a trophy for Most Fish Caught – Boy. He landed 25 catfish during the event. Madison Wright, 9, of Memphis, took home the trophy for Most Fish Caught – Girl for her five nice-sized catfish.
Connor Clanton earned the trophy for Longest Fish caught with the 24.5-inch catfish he tugged to shore.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” said the 10-year-old Lakeland Elementary student, who was all smiles as he held on tight to the trophy.
Rooney said, “It was a great day for fishing. We are so glad that so many families join us for this event each year.”


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