Children lure catfish from pond in angling contest CENTRAL--Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg

May 03, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

The worms were squishy, the chicken livers were gross and the catfish were biting yesterday at the fifth annual Fishing Rodeo at the Westminster Community Pond.

Seven-year-old Corey DeShong of Westminster was named grand champion for skillfully using a chicken liver to snag a 20 1/2 -inch catfish, the best catch of the day. He earned a bright blue trophy with a large, gold-colored bass flipping its fins on top and gift certificates to three pizza restaurants.

His winning entry actually was recorded at 21 1/2 inches because organizers gave fishermen an extra inch if they threw their catches back.

The fish were judged by length, not weight.

"We encourage people to return the fish, so kids will learn a little conservation," said Henry Lysy of Westminster, who chaired the event organized by the Optimist Club of Westminster.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources stocked the pond Thursday with about 200 catfish as part of its program to encourage children to "get hooked on fishing, not on drugs," Mr. Lysy said. Bluegills and trout also live in the pond, he said.

At least 300 children from preschool to age 15 participated yesterday, said Mr. Lysy, who wore red suspenders with his shorts and a red cap with a green stuffed catfish poking its head out the front and its tail out the back.

Admission was free.

Mr. Lysy measured the children's fish by placing them in a plastic laundry basket with a measuring tape attached to the bottom. He showed the children how to put a worm on a hook, how to get a hook out of a fish's mouth and joked that the best place to carry a fish was in their pants pockets.

His son Chris Lysy, 13, and friend Matt Stone, 13, of Westminster, had cast several lines into the pond. Matt had built a stand from a stick to hold his pole so he could be free to walk around.

Both wore uniforms from Boy Scout Troop 420, which helped with cleanup at the event.

They were knowledgeable about luring their prey from the water.

"They all have different taste," Chris said.

Catfish like chicken livers, bass like frogs, but they all like the creeping critters that many children didn't want to touch yesterday.

"Worms are popular. Every kind of fish you can think of usually bite on worms," Chris said.

Westminster resident Edward Wilson Sr.'s advice to his 7-year-old son Edward Jr. paid off.

"You just have to be patient and sit and wait," he said.

Edward Jr. caught two good-sized catfish, including one that measured 20 1/4 inches and earned him a first-place trophy in the 7-to-9 age group. He also caught a 17 1/2 incher.

As he and his father walked to have a fish measured, Edward Jr. couldn't resist telling a friend about his success.

"I caught two big ones today," he said.

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