Aug. 7, 2005 – "It is all about the kids having a good time," said Angela Rivera of William's Delight, Sunday morning on the wharf in Christiansted.
Her daughter, Christina, was evidently having that good time as she raced to have officials at the Kids Hand-Line Tournament weigh her fifth catch of the day.
The event, in its fourth consecutive year, is sponsored by the 67-member Golden Hook Fishing Club.
Club president Andy Anderson said registration was down some this year, with 157 registrations. He said the tournament is limited to 200 youngsters. Each child gets a hand line, hooks, bait and a T-shirt.
According to Anderson, there were more than 200 kids last year, and some had to be turned away. He said it broke his heart having to say no to some little ones. This year the club lowered the upper age limit to 12 from 14.
The prizes also contribute to it being such a popular event. This year the club was giving away six bicycles one to the top male and female finishers in the three age categories. Winners are determined by the total weight of all the fish they caught. Other prizes included 21 rod and reels and 12 Caribbean bracelets.
Sam Rourke, 11, was also enjoying the tournament. He was there waiting with friends before the tournament started at 8 a.m. Even though he had only caught a crab a half hour before the event was to end at 11 a.m., he said he was having fun. His mother said, "Sam excels at catching things that are not fish, on a fish hook."
Christina and Sam said they fish other times, but Anderson said one of the tournament's aim is to catch youngsters who have never fished before and get them hooked. Another aim, he said, was to teach them something about fish management. The event was strictly catch and release.
The Golden Hook Club, which has been on St. Croix for 13 years, also holds four trolling tournaments each year.
Helping sponsor this year's event were: Caribbean Auto Mart, Toyota St. Croix, St. Croix Bait and Tackle, Caribbean Bracelet Company, Plumb Cool, FL Associates, Paradise Waste Systems, Paradise 93.5-FM, Smuggler's Cove, Bengoa's Air Conditioning, Sharkey's Bait Stand, Golden Rock Market, Florida Welding, Reliable Rentals, Isle 95.1, Sunny FM-99.5, Mongoose 104.9, West Indies Corp., Doug Shrock and WSVI-Channel 8.
Anderson said the club takes two months every year to organize the event, adding, "We hope we are getting better at it every year."
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