The annual Father’s Day Kids’ Fishing Derby at the Salmon Arm Marine Park wharf was cancelled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (James Murray photo)

Column: Salmon Arm Kids’ Fishing Derby on hold, good time to practise for next year’s event

Great Outdoors by James Murray

This coming Sunday, June 21, were it not for the current COVID-19 pandemic, would have been the 24th Annual Salmon Arm Kid’s Fishing Derby.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 24 years since we held the very first Kids’ Fishing Derby back in 1997. As I recall, we had about 90 entries that year and gave out about $500 in prizes.

The derby has grown a bit since then. We now have hundreds of participants who take part competing for trophies and prizes, as well as hundreds of parents, grandparents and guardians, not to mention all the people who come out just to watch. There are now thousands of dollars in prizes.

One thing I know for sure is that a lot of kids have had a lot of fun over the years fishing on Father’s Day down at the end of the Salmon Arm Marine Park wharf. There have also been a lot of prizes won, and plenty of young anglers have had their names inscribed on the annual trophies. I’ve watched many of them grow up. Some are now bring their own kids to the derby. I can’t help but feel proud.

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It also makes me feel good every year when I see young anglers down on the docks a week or two prior to the derby, practising and testing out different types of bait and lures at different depths and spots along the dock. It’s even better when I see them fishing off the dock in the weeks after, over the course of the summer. Kids could be doing worse things.

While we may have had to cancel this year’s derby due to the pandemic, the organizers and sponsors are already making plans for next year’s event.

It may sound a bit cliché to say that next year’s derby will be bigger and better, but something tells me that it will be both. In the meantime, there’s no reason why families can’t spend time together down at the end of the wharf fishing, having fun and ‘practising’ for next year.

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