The lake at Ken View Farm, located off the Cartersville Highway northeast of Rockmart, was full of channel catfish ready to bite. By noon, most children had at least a couple of fish strung up and many had near the eight-fish limit.
“We fished this same spot last year and didn’t catch anything,” said Ken Adams, who was fishing with son Kendall, 9. “We’ve been here one hour … and he’s one away from the limit.”
Adams said soon after arriving Saturday, his son won a new fishing rod. Feeling lucky, they decided to try their old fishing spot again.
Similar success was being had all around the lake. While some caught and released, Neal Corn, who was fishing with son Ramsey, 3, and some friends, said they were keeping all their fish.
“We’ll get together later and eat ‘em,” Corn said.
Corn was fishing next to Brian Knight, who brought twin sons Cody and Corey, both 6, and family friend Austin Lee, 8. Both groups had large strings of fish, most pan size.
The successful fishing is no accident. It comes through careful planning and year-round maintenance.
“We restock the lake during the fall of the year,” explained Rick Dempsey, conservation ranger with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “Richard Harris, the farm manager, feeds them every day and grows them for this event.”
The fishing rodeo is now in its sixth year at Kenview Farms. Bob Matthews, owner of the farm, makes the lake available for fishing and opens a pasture to parking. The DNR provides the fish.
When stocked, the channel catfish are about six inches long, Dempsey said. By the time of the fishing rodeo, they can reach a pound. But there’s even bigger fish in the lake.
“They can be anywhere from half a pound to 20 pounds,” Dempsey said. “They don’t catch all of them. Some of the fish carry over to the next year.”
The event also depends on a multitude of other sponsors, which provide everything from hotdogs and cokes - free to the participants - and a variety of prizes. Trammell LLC continues to be the largest donor. Wal-Mart in Cedartown and Casey’s Food Store in Rockmart also helped a lot, Dempsey said.
“The sponsors really kicked in this year,” he said. “We were able to give every kid a T-shirt and a goody bag with stuff related to fishing.”
Response from the community also was good Saturday, despite the cloudy skies. The day turned out to be hot and humid, but the event wasn’t rained out as organizers had feared.
More than 200 children signed up and with parents and grandparents the crowd swelled to several hundred.
“We usually have between 450 and 500,” Dempsey said.
Besides simply having a fun day fishing, entry in the event put children in the running for several prizes. Drawings were held for fishing rods and similar goods.
“We give away something in the neighborhood of 200 rods and reels,” Dempsey said.
Five children received $50 savings bonds. Plus, children had a chance at bigger prizes. Kids could get their names in a drawing for a $500 savings bond, through Wal-Mart.
There also was a casting contest. The winner was entered in a national drawing for a $1,000 prize.
Other sponsors included: S&S Pallets and Equipment; Peek & Hightower; Hill’s Creek Bass Club; Georgia Industrial & Electric; Randy Early Construction; Jane & Ha rold Wyatt; United Bank & Trust; Himes Pest Control; First National Bank; Gammage Funeral Home, Inc.; Freeman Harris Funeral Home; D&S Trucking; Shorts Grading and Hauling; Lamar’s Bait and Tackle; Sportsman No. 2.
Regions Bank; Forsyth Body Shop; Lee’s Racing; Lew Allen Construction; Don Norris Poured Walls; and Lester C. Litesey Funeral Home, Inc.