Kiwanis Kids Fishing Tournament
Up with the sun and ready to have fun, more than 160 children of all ages along with their siblings, parents, grandparents and friends all gathered on the banks of the pond at Creekwood Park in Panther Creek for the 30th annual Kiwanis Kids Fishing Classic. Located just across Panther Creek Drive from McCullough Jr. High School, there’s plenty of parking for the the Kiwanis Kids Fishing Classic – which is a good thing, since the turnout tends to be so high!
Though registration for the annual event begins at 7:00 AM with the horn blown to begin fishing at 8:00, event organizers tell us some of the most avid anglers begin arriving as early as 6:30 AM to scope out and secure their spot. The two-hour children’s event combines family time with good, “clean” fun, allowing for everyone to have a great time. This year’s tournament got underway just a few minutes before 8:00 AM, with the first fish caught in an estimated three minutes, weighing in at a respectable 3.7 pounds!
The First Woodlands Fishing Event for kids was held in 1983 by The Woodlands Bass Club, a local organization which handled the event until The Woodlands Kiwanis took over hosting the annual free fishing tournament in 1999.
Though there is some competitive spirit among the kids who participate, the purpose of the tournament is truly to bring the community together and enjoy some family time. The Woodlands Township lends a hand in making the fishing plentiful for all, stocking the pond a day or two in advance with an estimated 500 pounds of catfish. With an average fish weight between two and three pounds, that means a good 150 to 200 additional fish are there for the catching. Even with almost two hundred people fishing this morning, that’s a lot of fish to go around.
But while two to three pounds may be the average, there are inevitably a few smaller and larger catfish to be sure. This year’s winner for largest fish caught was eight year old Camilla Johnson, who managed to reel in an incredible 7.27 pound catfish – with maybe a little help from her dad. It’s likely that catfish (and at least one other at 7.07 pounds) is among last year’s event survivors, which have double their size in 12 months – there could be some even larger ones at next year’s fishing tournament. Her whole family was in on the fun, with mom helping to wrangle the fish on the ground, and siblings catching them, too! Mom tells us this isn’t their first Kiwanis Kids Fishing Tournament, they’ve been doing this for a while, with her eldest child sporting a circa 2005 Kiwanis Fishing Tournament shirt.
There’s also a trophy given for the greatest number of fish caught, and this year’s winner could put a pro to shame! Ten year old Kirk Beverung, dressed in his distinctive purple Magellan Outdoors shirt and fishing cap, brought in an amazing 13 of the 66 total fish in the two-hour tournament. When asked what type of bait he was using, his response was, “live worms, of course!” He also said he’d managed to catch them all using the same hook!
Of course, Camilla and Kirk weren’t the only recipients of trophies – in the true generous spirit of Kiwanis, all participating kids receive a trophy, as well as a commemorative t-shirt, a breakfast of donuts provided by HEB, hot dogs for lunch, ice-cold beverages, and oatmeal-chocolate-chunk cookies to snack on. These items were provided by Hodges’ Food Basket, Coca-Cola of Conroe, and Chick-fil-A The Woodlands, respectively. Also provided free of charge is a distinctive mix of stink bait by Mikey’s Cat-Chum, as well as numerous helping hands assisting with bobbers, hooks and lines by the guys from The Woodlands Bass Club. There are many other local companies who also sponsor and help out with the tournament each year, providing all kinds of things like ice, paper goods, crafts for the non-fishing kids, and more. The Woodlands Kiwanis Annual Kids Fishing Tournament is truly a community event and experience.
So if you missed it this year, be sure to mark your calendars, and keep an eye on ours as well. The Woodlands Kiwanis Annual Kids Fishing Tournament is usually held right around Labor Day Weekend, and is one of four major events hosted by The Woodlands Kiwanis each year. The other major events are the Special Olympics in March, the Prayer Breakfast in May, and the Kids Triathlon in July.
Other ways The Woodlands Kiwanis give back to the community includes offering $1,000 scholarships to a number of local high school students each year, and partnering with area high school “Key Clubs.” If you’d like to be involved with the Kiwanis, or just check them out, head on over to one of their weekly breakfasts on Thursday mornings at The Woodlands Friendship Center on Lake Robbins Drive, or join the newest area Kiwanis Club, The Market Street Noon Club, at their bi-monthly lunches on the first and third Tuesdays of each month in the Community Room at HEB. You’ll be glad you did.
The Woodlands Kiwanis serves the community with numerous activities designed to improve the lives of the children in our community, and around the world. Their current project is supporting the Eliminate Project – a world wide effort to eliminate neonatal tetanus. This deadly disease kills almost 60,00 babies per year. The Woodlands Kiwanis have committed to raise over $30,000 for this project, and have raised $14,500 to date. Some of their past projects have included the “Send Your Luv & Huggies to Pamper the Babies of the Panama Canal Zone Children’s Hospital,” a diaper drive which brought in 65,000 diapers, fundraisers for Tetanus Inoculations, saving the lives of mothers in developing countries, and Shoes for Orphan Souls, a shoe drive for orphaned children.
Note: Though Creekwood Park fishing pond is a “Catch & Release” pond – meaning that all fish caught are required to be immediately released back into the water – an exception is made for the purpose of the Kiwanis Kids Fishing Classic. Because of the large number of fish added to the pond for the tournament, event organizers generally ask the parents and guardians of the children if they would like to keep their catch. It is our understanding that leaving all of those extra catfish in the pond would likely cause problems in the balance of the ecosystem there, perhaps causing over-crowding or other issues.