EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Hibbs, 6th Ranger Training Battalion, and Bill Tate, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service aquatic biologist, release a large channel catfish into Prisoner pond in preparation for the May 26-27 Youth Fishing Rodeo. More than 3,000 catfish, even a few up to 20 pounds in weight, have been stocked in the pond to ensure all participants enjoy a high quality fishing experience.
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Eglin natural resource managers hope local youth will enjoy their experience catching catfish like this at the Youth Fishing Rodeo event on May 26-27.(Photo by Jerron Barnett)
by Jerron Barnett
Eglin Environmental Public Affairs
5/10/2007 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Children 13 years and younger should have their bait and fishing poles ready for Eglin's Youth Fishing Rodeo event at Prisoner Pond on Memorial Day weekend, May 26-27.
According to the event's concept plan, a quota of 75 participants will be implemented for each three-hour fishing period on May 26 to promote quality and ensure safety for all participants. The fishing periods for May 26 are: 7 to 10 a.m., noon to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Parents must call (850) 882-4165 or 4166 starting on Tuesday through May 24 to sign their children up to a specific time period. This time period sign-up effort will be held on a first come-first served basis. Jackson Guard permit sales clerks will provide any additional information such as driving directions at that time. A daily creel limit of five catfish will apply.
An open youth fishing session is scheduled for 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 27, Justin Johnson, wildlife biologist and outdoor recreation coordinator at Jackson Guard, said. This session will be ideal for those who were unable to or do not desire to sign up for May 26.
The partnership of Eglin Natural Resources Management at Jackson Guard, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army's 6th Ranger Training Battalion are currently finalizing the plan to provide what they hope is a worthwhile experience to young fishing enthusiasts, Mr. Johnson said.
"This event is specifically for children within the communities that surround Eglin," Mr. Johnson said. "Fishing is a fantastic way to spend quality time with children in an atmosphere free from the stress and interruptions of everyday life."
Prisoner Pond is approximately five acres in size and is located in the 6th RTB compound. On Wednesday, members of the USFWS stocked the pond with approximately 3,000 channel catfish that were provided by the USFWS Welaka National Fish Hatchery in preparation for the Rodeo event. Additionally, Jackson Guard will purchase approximately 1,000 pounds of catfish that will be added to the pond before the event.
"With all these fish, we hope it will be a 'put your hook in, pull catfish out' kind of deal for the children," Mr. Johnson said. "We are aiming for a truly enjoyable experience."