They call it
fishing--not catching--for a reason. The story of the annual MS4 Kids
Fishing Derby at Porter’s Indian Springs Park this year is the story of the
ones that got away.
Near the end of the
competition Wednesday morning, three young anglers were tied for the longest
fish caught. Two had reeled in 7.5-inch bluegills and one had nabbed a
Around 10:20 a.m.,
with minutes of fishing time remaining, Lucas Anderson, 11, made a bomb cast
of at least 25 yards and hooked into a nice bluegill. He wrestled the
pugnacious panfish in with his rod tip held high, but the fish wriggled off
Anderson’s hook just as he went to pull it up on shore. The bluegill flopped
in the mud just next to the water, and Anderson was inches from scooping it
up when it flopped just the right way and disappeared back into the weedy
depths of Lake Pratt.
Was that cunning,
cold-blooded worm gobbler the 7.75- or 8-inch specimen that would have taken
top prize? Duneland will never know.
Such is the nature
of fishing--and Anderson wasn’t the only young angler who learned that
Wednesday. Joe Chiles, 12, reported a nice largemouth bass, approximately 15
inches, swiped at his bait and missed it early on in the competition.
Had Chiles landed
that fish, it would have been the second largest fish caught in the Derby’s
five-year history. A 17-inch bass took first place last year, following an
epic battle where the brute tried to eat a small bluegill that was being
Director Brian Bugajski said whoever’s catch was first determines the winner
in the event of a tie. First place went to Brandon Jones, 11, second place
went to Drew Pacilio, 12, and third place went to Anderson. Each winner
received a new fishing pole and accessories provided by the Porter
Stormwater Board, Chesterton MS4, and the Northwest Indiana Steelheaders.
All in all, more
than 40 kids between six and 12 participated Wednesday. They caught a total
of 11 fish, among them three species: bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, and
Bugajski said they
usually see 20 or 30 fish caught, but the action was slow this year.
Kids competed in
two age divisions, and for the first time, no fish were caught by anyone in
the six- to eight-year-old division.
Ortega-Chick, 12, was one of the many kids who didn’t fool any fish into
He said he had fun,
nonetheless, and looks forward to coming back next year.
Tribune asked Ortega-Chick why he thought the fish weren’t biting.
“Maybe because of the weather, how it’s been changing so much,” he said,
“and maybe a lot more people are coming out here, more than usual.”
pressured water and cold fronts are two of any given angler’s biggest woes.
Ortega-Chick couldn’t even fool them with his special technique of casting
from the side for better distance.
“I think those were
the two main things,” Ortega-Chick said. “The weather is always changing a
lot, and it’s been cold.”