June 6, 2015 --
Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany officials hosted the 27th annual Buddy Fishing Tournament with more than 100 young fishermen participating in the event at Covella Pond here, June 6.
With a blast from an air horn, the anglers, with the help of their “buddies,” grabbed their fishing poles with baited hooks and cast their lines into the still water.
Almost immediately, fishing enthusiasts witnessed their bobbers being pulled under water.
Julie Robbins, natural resources manager, Environmental Branch, Installation and Environment Division, MCLB Albany, said every year the Georgia Department of Natural Resources stocks Covella Pond with channel catfish around November or December.
“We grow ‘em up and feed ‘em up, and invite the public to come out and catch some fish,” Robbins said. “It’s nice to see the Marine Corps be able to give back to the community in this way, especially when you see children who are fishing for the first time catching fish.”
The tournament was not only to catch fish, but for families to spend time together, Robbins added.
Braving the Southwest Georgia heat and gnats, Staff Sgt. Jamie Rice, organics chief, Marine Corps Logistics Command, assisted her daughter during her first time fishing.
She recalled her father taking her fishing when she was a young girl and hoped to pass on the family tradition to her daughter.
“(The tournament) was a chance for (my daughter) to actually catch some fish during her first (fishing tournament),” Rice said.
Aside from the gnats bothering her, Rice said she hopes this will inspire her daughter to continue to fish.
Rice’s daughter caught six catfish and gave them to the family fishing next to them. Rice explained, “We don’t eat a lot of fish unless they are fish sticks.”
Erin Crimmons accompanied two young anglers to the friendly-family tournament; her novice 14- year-old son and three-year-old daughter.
Crimmons’ son came out to compete for a trophy and caught an 8.5-pound catfish. Her daughter seemed to lose interest in fishing and was running around chasing a friend, but had caught several small catfish as well.
“She caught her first catfish and she is having a ball,” Crimmons said. “She likes to pet the fish. She would rather be playing with the worms instead of catching fish.”
Crimmons said she plans to bring her family to the next Buddy Fishing Tournament tentatively scheduled for June 5, 2016.
Eligible fishermen under age 15 competed for the largest fish trophy in their respective boys or girls categories. The largest catch of the day was a 12.2-pound catfish.
The young anglers caught an estimated 500 catfish throughout the two-and-a-half hour tournament.