June 9, 2016 --
The five-acre perimeter of Covella Pond, aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, was lined with young anglers and their buddy fishing companions who participated in the 28th Annual Buddy Fishing Tournament, June 4.
Youth partnered with their parents, grandparents, older siblings and guardians to compete for a chance at winning one of several trophies being awarded in various categories at the tournament’s final weigh in.
Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany's natural resources manager, Julie Robbins, Installation and Environmental Division, commented on the day's activities.
“This is our 28th Annual Buddy Fishing Tournament,” Robbins said. “We’ve stocked Covella Pond with a thousand hybrid striped bass and about three to four thousand channel catfish.
“(Each year), the tournament is opened to children ages 15 years and under until 10:30 a.m.,” she explained. “After that, families can stay on and fish until noon. We like the opportunity to open the pond up to the public and give back to the Albany community.”
According to Robbins, in preparation for the day’s tournament, her team suspended using the automatic feeders around the pond for several days in hopes that the fish would have a heartier appetite for the bait when young anglers cast their lines into the pond.
“We haven’t fed the fish in about a week so they should be good and hungry and we hope they will eat just about anything that’s thrown in the water,” Robbins concluded while chuckling.
Veteran fishermen, some as young as 4 years old, admitted they had competed in the tournament on the installation for two-to-three consecutive years.
Dick Medina and his 12-year-old son Jacob are entering their third year in the tournament.
“I have never won a trophy any of the times I've been out here,” Jacob said. “But, it really doesn't matter to me as long as we just catch enough for dinner.”
Nine-year-old Gabby Usry, accompanied by her grandfather Brad Usry, discussed her fishing experience.
“It’s not my first time fishing,” Gabby said. “But, this is my first time fishing over here. I brought my papa to fish with me today. I have crickets and worms; now, all I have to do is find a good spot to fish.”
Four-year-old Gavin Frakes walked away as the overall biggest catch-of-the-day winner with his 1.4 pound catfish.
Other trophy winners at the event were: (Boys group) Blayne Ethridge, Cason Sheffield, TyDyrn Thomas, and Josh Soliz; (girls group) McKenna Snelson, Amanda Smallwood, Emma Hanks, Leila Rovieve and Samantha West.
According to officials, an estimated crowd of roughly 200 children and their buddies participated in the 2016 annual tournament.
To view more photos of the event, click on the Facebook icon on the menu bar in the upper right corner.