Children: Prepare your tackle | SierraSun.com

Children: Prepare your tackle

Bruce Ajari

It seems just like yesterday when the Annual Kids Fishing Derby was started by local sportsman Bob Tilton. Tilton had a vision to draw youngsters to the sport, giving children an option for healthy recreation while keeping them out of trouble.That was 19 years ago. This year, the 19th Annual Kids Fishing Derby will take place at the Donner State Park pond located beyond the Holiday Inn Express and Madigans Grille & Tavern on Coldstream Road Saturday, July 21, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is free for anglers 12 years old and younger. Youngsters and their parents should check in at Mountain Hardware & Sports ahead of time to make sure that they are properly outfitted for the event.Children will need to have their own tackle in order to fish. Unfortunately, some children have shown up without gear in the past, and there has been none for them to use.The fish that are supplied by the Nevada County Fish and Wildlife Commission are augmented by a load of trophy fish purchased by the Truckee Noon Rotary and the Tilton family. Jim Dill, the chairman for the Truckee Noon Rotary, tells me that trophy fish will be put in by Mt. Lassen Hatchery again this year. Volunteers are also needed to help out. If you know how to fish, you can be of great assistance in helping some of the neophytes to the sport. Come and volunteer four hours of your time. It is great and the kids, parents and sponsors are very appreciative!The Rotarians also provide a reasonably priced barbecue during the event. Be sure to support them so that they can continue to provide a high-quality event. They do a great job! Incidentally, Dill tells me that the menu will consist of the traditional hot dogs and hamburgers as well as chicken kabobs and tri-tip sandwiches. Parents should bring their kids out to the derby and start some fond memories upon which to reflect in later years. Even if you do not fish, getting started is pretty easy. Employees at a place like Mountain Hardware & Sports can tell you how to get started with the equipment and how to rig it.Dill wanted to be sure and to mention his appreciation for the help provided by the Tilton family, Ray Butler of the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Commission and Mountain Hardware.In addition, he wanted to be sure that Jamie Lyle and Umpqua Feather Merchants got credit for their frequent support of the event. Lyle runs a fly fishing tackle business.

Make sure that they are well rested the night before. Arrive early to get a good spot to fish and park. Have plenty of snacks and liquids to keep the children hydrated. If you forget them, not to worry. The Rotary will have a snack bar selling drinks and lunch items. Have some other things, like board games, for the children to do to keep them occupied prior to the beginning of the event. Patience on the part of your child and you is a very necessary component. The more of this you have, the better the experience will be for you and your child. Prior to the event, check out the fishing tackle. One of the most common problems I see at events like this is not having an adequate amount of fishing line, or old line on the reel. Not having enough line will cause lots of problems in casting, and your child will not be able to reach the fish. Most people place four- to eight-pound test line on their reels. Any one of the locations listed for sign-ups can provide more tips. While lighter line casts farther, it is not as strong when it comes to playing a fish. Six-pound test was always a good compromise for me. Having old line can cause immense problems as well. Old monofilament line tends to be very brittle. In fact, it breaks so easily that you can actually break the line while casting out your bait. Even worse, it can break when your child has hooked a fish. A spool of lighter line than the main line is recommended for a leader, along with some weights (split shot and egg sinkers are good), hooks (No. 8 to No. 12 are a good option) and simple baits (Berkeley Powerbait & salmon eggs are the easiest).Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.