Young anglers and their families gathered June 2 at three Delaware ponds for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police 32nd annual Youth Fishing Tournament.
All fish caught in the tournament were weighed and released, as young anglers got a first-hand lesson in conservation.
“For more than 30 years, this tournament has drawn young anglers to experience the excitement of catching fish while learning about conservation and taking care of our natural resources,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “I applaud all of this year’s participants and congratulate this year’s winners on their skill and potentially a little bit of luck.”
The New Castle County location, Lums Pond near Bear, drew 108 children and young teens casting lines, while at Kent County’s Akridge Scout Reservation pond near Camden, 54 youngsters turned out. Sussex County reeled in 51 young anglers to Ingrams Pond near Millsboro.
When the day was done, 14-year-old Elise Britton of Middletown came out as overall statewide winner, as well as the New Castle County winner, for the second year in a row, with her largest catch, a 7.94-pound carp, the largest fish caught in this year’s tournament. Other big fish included a 2.5-pound largemouth bass caught at Akridge Scout Reservation by Joshua Benton of Dover; a 1-pound, 14.9-ounce brown bullhead catfish caught by Sussex winner Luke Hitchens of Dagsboro; and a 1-pound, 2.7-ounce chain pickerel caught from Ingrams Pond by Garret Rogers. The smallest fish of the day were caught by Trevor Torbert of Harrington, 0.01-pound bluegill from Akridge Scout Reservation’s pond; and Jimmy Swatski, with a 0.03-ounce bluegill from Ingrams Pond.
This year’s county winners and the overall statewide winner will be invited to a special trophy presentation on Governor’s Day, July 26, at the 2018 Delaware State Fair in Harrington.
Other New Castle County winners at Lums Pond, by age group and total weight of fish caught, were:
— Ages 4-7: First place, Liesabet Barker, age 4, of Townsend, 2.03 pounds; second place, Loralei Barker, age 6, of Townsend, 1.53 pounds; third place, Gabriel Alfaro, age 4, of Newark, 1.09 pounds.
— Ages 8-11: First place, Leland Barker, age 10, of Townsend, 3.12 pounds; second place, Onna Crowley, age 9, of Clayton, 2.94 pounds; third place, Russell Reed, age 9, of Clayton, 1.90 pounds.
— Ages 12-15: First place, Jeffrey Johnson, age 13, of Middletown, 4.39 pounds; second place, Danielle Carr, age 13, of Elkton, Md., 2.59 pounds; third place, Anthony Lewis, age 15, of Townsend, 1.70 pounds.
At Akridge Scout Reservation, Adrianna Gott, age 11, of Viola, was the day’s overall winner with a total of 7.01 pounds of fish. Other Kent County winners were:
— Ages 4-7: First place, Carly Clevens, age 7, of Wilmington, 2.96 pounds; second place, Grayson Glanden, age 5, of Felton, 2.24 pounds; third place, Collin Messinger, age 5, of Dover, 1.29 pounds.
— Ages 8-11: First place, Connor Wyatt, age 10, of Dover, 5.77 pounds; second place, Bailey Fuller, age 8, of Camden, 3.38 pounds; third place, Joshua Benton, age 10, of Dover, 3.30 pounds.
— Ages 12-15: First place, Trevor Torbert, age 14, of Harrington, 6.78 pounds; second place, Ethan Wong, age 14 of Frederica, 4.23 pounds; third place, Peyton Timmons, age 13, of Dover, 3.88 pounds.
At Ingram’s Pond in Sussex County, Luke Hitchens, age 11, of Dagsboro, was the day’s overall winner with a total of 4.54 pounds of fish. Other Sussex County winners were:
— Ages 4-7: First place, John Timmons V, age 6, of Georgetown, 3.15 pounds; second place, Madison Culley, age 7, of Laurel, 1.87 pounds; third place, Joseph Lawson, age 7, of Laurel, 1.33 pounds.
— Ages 8-11: First place, Edvardo Lopez, age 10, of Selbyville, 4.26 pounds; second place, Ava Puddicombe, age 11, of Laurel, 3.95 pounds; third place, Nathan Green, age 11, of Millsboro, 2.53 pounds.
— Ages 12-15: First place, Zachary Hicks, age 13, of Greenwood, 1.43 pounds; second place, Garrett Rogers, age 12, of Millsboro, 1.16 pounds; third place, Camrin Croney, age 12, of Ocean View, 0.90 pounds.
The Youth Fishing Tournament was established to introduce youth to the sport of fishing and to teach the catch-and-release approach to conservation. The tournament, held annually in June, is open to youth ages 4 through 15.
For more, call 739-9913, or visit bit.ly/2smSIfd.