June 3, 2017 --
Dozens turn out to participate in a three-decade old tradition as Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany opened its gate to the Albany-Dougherty County community for the 30th annual Buddy Fishing Tournament at Covella Pond, June 3.
Neither occasional overcast skies nor pesky gnats were deterrents for the little anglers and the buddies, who accompanied them to the competition.
According to Julie Robbins, natural resources manager, Installation and Environmental Division, MCLB Albany, the pond had been stocked with roughly 5,000 channel catfish in preparation for the day’s event.
Robbins commented on the age-old traditional, the rules and prerequisites for qualified participants.
“This is our 30th Annual Buddy Fishing Tournament,” Robbins said. “It’s our opportunity to share fishing with the community. We’ve stocked (Covella) Pond with channel catfish. In the hopes that the fish will be good and hungry and ready to eat just about anything, we stopped feeding them about a week ago.
“The tournament is opened to children under 16 years of age,” she explained. “They will fish from 8-10 o’clock. After that, we have invited the members of the public, families and adults to stay on and fish until noon.”
Anastasia Burke, a four-year old little angler, brought her “fishing rod” and her dad, Navy Lt. Bruce Burke, in hopes of catching a trophy-winning fish. The lieutenant commented on the activity.
“This is a great event,” Burke said. “This is my second year participating. Last year, my son fished, but he’s visiting his grandma right now. This year, I brought my daughter; she’s the fisherman, and I’m the wrangler. It’s a beautiful day to fish.”
Nine-year old Baker County fisherman, Parker Watson, who brought his mother, Naomi, and his grandfather, Billy Joe to assist him, discussed his reason for attending the tournament.
“I’m here because I want to catch some fish,” Parker said. “I came out to win a trophy and I want to catch the whoppers. We have almost everything; I have a reel, a rod, bait and crickets. I’ll tell you when I catch that whopper; we’ll grill it for lunch and have a big fish fry.”
The year’s event logged several record “monster” catches for some of the little fisherman; quite a few trophy-winning fish ranged in weighs between 7-10.5 pounds.
Three-year old Kinsley Snider landed a 10.1 pound catfish, and Logan Pearson’s 0.8 ounce channel catfish earned them both trophies for their age group; Aaliyah Nathan’s 9.0 pound catfish and Joseph Paul’s 10.5 pounder won trophies for their age group; Campbell Robbins’s 0.50 pounds, won in the girls age group and Dakota Jordan took the boys trophy with a 7.3 pounder; Dominique Sharpe’s 8.2 pound catfish netted him a trophy as well.
Trophy winner, Kinsley Snider, who caught three of the larger catfish during the tournament, said catching the fish made her “feel happy.” Kinsley appointed her dad, Staff Sgt. Chris Sniper, to clean and cook her catch-of-the-day.
The young angler who was awarded a second trophy for catching the largest fish overall was Joseph Paul. Joseph grinned broadly as he brandished his two trophies amidst applause and congratulatory cheers from the crowd.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Fishery Section, has partnered with the installation and provides the channel catfish, which are released to the pond in December of each year, and are fed by automatic feeders until one-week prior to the tournament, according to Robbins who coordinates the event.