On the hook: Youth anglers haul ’em in at rodeo

Annual event aims to reel in kids for life

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

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CHERAW, S.C. — Amid a “holy moly,” “wow and “good grief,” young anglers were excited to take part in the annual Youth Fishing Rodeo on Saturday at the Cheraw Fish Hatchery.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Denika McCormick helps Imari, 6, reel in a fish on Saturday at the Cheraw Fish Hatchery.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Denika McCormick helps Imari, 6, reel in a fish on Saturday at the Cheraw Fish Hatchery.

Manager Rick Slack said 100 kids between the ages of 6 and 15 had registered for the event, which was conducted in two 90-minute sessions. The first, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., was coupled with a steady rain shower but nothing that prevented anyone already on site from having a good time. By the time the 9:30 a.m. session was about to begin, the sky had lightened and the rain had stopped.

Patrick Moss, of Chesterfield, brought daughter Eden, 8, and son Wilder, 6 for yet another round of fishing in the 2-acre pond, stocked with bass, catfish, bream and more. Fishing is a part of the Moss family’s life, as they hit the water with poles and bait in hand four to five times a month.

Moss, the veteran angler, might not be able to lay claim to the family record of largest fish caught. Eden, he said, recently caught one that on an uncalibrated scale showed 14 pounds. His best is about 10 pounds.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com A father hands off his daughter's catch to her after taking it off the hook.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
A father hands off his daughter’s catch to her after taking it off the hook.

“She’s the fisherman,” Moss said of his daughter. “If that thing was in excess of 10, she’s already out done me.”

Young Wilder, meanwhile, is still in the learning stages of fishing. He had the patience, but some of the technical terms still confounded him. Dad was there to help as needed, but instead of a hands-on approach, he sometimes offered verbal guidance.

“Set the hook,” Moss softly encouraged when another fish had pulled off Wilder’s hook.

“I don’t even know what that means,” Wilder said.

Patrick residents Tommy Lett, 14, and brother Zack, 10, are old hands when it comes to outdoor recreation — fishing, hunting and rodeo, the latter having “messed up” Tommy’s left leg and shoulder during a recent ride. The injuries didn’t prevent him from sitting on a bucket and casting, however. Nor did it stop him from hauling in a nice bass — one of several fish he was taking home with him.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Dalton Davis, 7, of Cassatt, is extremely proud of his first large hybrid bass.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Dalton Davis, 7, of Cassatt, is extremely proud of his first large hybrid bass.

“They hunt and fish all the time,” said Grandma Linda Lett.

Linda Lett, though, was not all smiles. The fishing limit was age 15.

“It ain’t fair,” she joked, being a few years past being able to pass for that age. “They won’t let me fish.”

There’s no debate on who cleans ’em — Linda Lett said if the boys catch ’em, they clean ’em. Grandma takes care of the cooking.

“Year before last I caught a 15-pound catfish,” Tommy said. “I was sitting right here in this exact spot.”

A shout erupts from a nearby angler. Dalton Davis, 7, of Cassatt, is thrilled. There’s a bit fish on the other end of the line.

“I’m keeping this one,” he exclaimed. “I caught my first hybrid.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com A young angler takes the most recent fish caught and prepares to cast again.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
A young angler takes the most recent fish caught and prepares to cast again.

On Saturday, there was no limit on hybrid bass but Dalton needn’t have worried — this one was going to be over 3 pounds anyway.

Dalton was assisted by his father, Greg Davis, and grandfather, Shellie Davis.

On the other side of the pond, 6-year-old Kellin Croshaw and his father, Kevin, of Florence, were following a catch-and release approach. They were in it for the fun of it, said Kevin Croshaw, who works in Cheraw at American Stainless and Supply. The 40-mile commute is nothing new.

“What’s one more day to drive up,” he asked rhetorically.

The Croshaws are rodeo veterans, having participated in one in Hartsville. Kellin has reeled in 11 fish as he was interviewed. He caught plenty more afterwards.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

The morning session was a family affair for Imari McCormick, 6. She was supported by her sisters, Mareiya, 12, and Zaneiya, 7, along with their mother, Denika, grandfather, Simon Lee and great-uncle, Ernest Lee.

“We come every year,” Denika McCormick said. They live in Cheraw. It’s a short drive.

“They love to fish and they love to eat fish,” she said.

For Denika, there was more to it than just hauling in the evening dinner.

“I work a lot, so this is something just to spend time with them,” she said.

They weren’t the only ones bonding. Chad Goodale and his daughter, 9-year-old Sophie, of Cheraw, were there at the start. The rain didn’t bother them a bit.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

For Sophie — who had quite a take from the pond — there was a sense of urgency to get the big one with only eight minutes left in the first session.

“Daddy, hurry up,” she quietly said. “I need you to put some more bait on.”

Officials hope events like today’s are just the start of a long life of fishing for the kids, who are required to purchase a fishing license when they reach age 16. The sales of fishing licenses, Slack said, are “the life blood” of the hatchery and a key funding element for the state Department of Natural Resources.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Anglers were required to bring their own bait and tackle. Shoes were optional.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Anglers were required to bring their own bait and tackle. Shoes were optional.

 

 

Filed in: Cheraw, Featured News, Latest Headlines, Outdoors

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  • trysha

    Kids and their parents loved this! Great way to get the little ones outside enjoying their self’s and spending time with love ones.

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