Children from 1 year old to 14 fished Anchor Park’s banks for catfish during the 32nd Annual Bob Watt Youth Fishing Rodeo.
The event, hosted by town of Farragut, took place at Anchor Park in Farragut on May 14 and was sponsored by the Watt family, Farragut resident Charley Benziger and Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, which stocked the pond with about 600 pounds of catfish on Monday, May 9.
“It’s just a beautiful day, and the kids are excited about fishing,” Stephanie Brown, Farragut resident, said. “[Daughter Nellie-Kate, 2,] kept saying, ‘Fish. Fish.”
“Do the fish know we are fishing for them?” Hamza Muhammed, a Farragut boy, asked. “Are they that smart?”
“I think it’s wonderful,” Betty Watt, widow of the late Bob Watt, after whom the event was named, said. “It’s so special to our family.”
“This is just the highlight of our year to do this,” Rachel Watt David, Betty and the late Bob Watt’s daughter, said.
“Bob was born and raised in Farragut, and he knew the area,” Betty said. “He used to hunt and fish here.
“It used to be Farragut Fishing Rodeo, but when he was an alderman in Farragut and left office, [former] Mayor Eddy Ford renamed the event Bob Watt Youth Fishing Rodeo,” Betty said.
David said her father was honored and humbled the event was renamed after him.
Lauren Cox, Farragut Special Event and Program coordinator, said 104 children attended this year and by 10 a.m., some had caught quite a few so far.
This year’s winners for the biggest fish were Nevaeh Pray, girls 6 and under category; Xavier Truman, boys 6 and under; Greysen Delph, girls 7 to 9; Aiden Gaston, boys 7 to 9; Kate Giancalone, girls 10 to 13; and Ben Crutchfield, boys 10 to 13.
There was a tie, Victoria Khomenko and Jonathan Godderz for the most fish caught, and Alyvia Dubay won for the smallest fish, Cox said.
Volunteers handed out bait and fishing rods and reels to children who needed them, fixed fishing lines and got fish off hooks for weighing, she said.
“It’s pretty nice,” Jonathan Goedderz, 9, of LaFollette, said. “I like to fish.”
“We saw the ad. My daughter picked it up online,” Jim Goedderz, Jonathan’s grandfather and LaFollette resident, said. “It’s a chance to spend time together. He likes to fish and I like to fish.”
Dylan Kimble of Knoxville brought four poles for which to fish with his grandmother, Julia Stumpft of Clinton.
“Mama saw the poster in Knoxville,” Dylan said. “I like it. I like the sport, and I know how to do it.”
“I came to supervise the tournament champ,” Stumpft said. “In the past, he won the championship.”
“We love it,” Caitlin Curtis, Farragut resident, said. “It’s such a great, cute event. We just moved here last summer. They didn’t have anything like this where we were from.”
Jennifer Roles, Lenoir City resident, said she brought her children, Kingston, 7, and Emery Roles, to do some fishing.
“I just thought it would be fun to do,” Roles said.
“I like it,” Kingston said. “I like being patient and watching the line.”
“It’s exciting,” Alena Khomen-ko, Hardin Valley resident, said. “It’s fun for little ones. I wish they had something like that when I was growing up.”
Patty Carter, Hardin Valley resident, brought her grandchildren, Preston Wagener, 6, and Jacob Stoner, 7, to Anchor Park for the fishing rodeo.
“Bryan Watt, part of the [late] Bob Watt family, told us about the fishing event,” Kelley Stoner, Jacob’s mother, said.
“I went with daddy fishing once, but I ate most of the [bait] corn,” Preston said.
“The last time I fished it was in a little lake at my grandfather’s,” Jacob said.
“I thought we were going to catch a bunch of fish,” Craig Dicus, Farragut resident said. He brought wife, Maggy, and sons, Joseph, Jackson and Cooper.
“…and get off the video games,” Maggie Dicus said. “It seems like two people set it up to do this.”
“It’s our first time coming,” Craig Dicus said. “The boys enjoy casting more, and reeling [the fish] in.”
“It’s our second time,” Kevin Kral, Knoxville resident, said. “We love it. It’s good to bring the kids, and even if they don’t catch anything, it’s still fun trying.”
“My son is very interested in fishing,” Ivy Yin, Farragut resident, said. “He never did this before, so we came here to try.”