Youth anglers are a hearty bunch, patiently braving the elements in the hopes of landing that sometimes elusive "big one."
To get the rare opportunity to compete against their peers for prizes while doing so, well, it probably doesn't get better than that.
For the 8th consecutive year, the Pickerington Parks and Recreation Department is presenting its popular Youth Fishing Derby, teaming up with sponsors Storm Team Construction and Cabela's to offer prizes and awards to the top contestants.
The Youth Fishing Derby will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, July 26 at the Sycamore Park Pond, located at the end of Hereford Drive in Pickerington.
The event is free and open to all youths up to 14 years of age. Entrants are required to bring their own pails, special bait and fishing poles
There are four age categories and prizes will be awarded for "most fish caught" and "biggest fish caught" for 8 and younger, 9-10 years old, 11-12 and 13-14.
According to Parks and Recreation Department employee Zachary Basting, registration is required. Entrants are encouraged to register for the event by Thursday, July 24.
Registration can be completed by calling the Parks and Recreation at 614-833-2211 or by submitting a Parks and Recreation class registration form on-line at www.pickerington.net
Basting said Sycamore Pond is teeming with hungry fish and ready for action.
"We just stocked the pond with 115 bass and 100 channel catfish so it should be interesting, it should be fun," he said.
Organizer Brian Arnold flies in every year to help run the event. Basting said Arnold is lining up donations for prizes again this year from Cabela's.
Last year, top youth anglers won sleeping bags, fishing poles and tackle boxes in addition to plaques and medals for their efforts.
All to entice them into experiencing the great outdoors, Basting said.
"Brian is also bringing a check for $250 that will be used to re-stock the pond afterwards as well," he said.
Absent thunder or lightning, the event will take place rain or shine. Basting recommended participants bring rain coats if it looks like it might rain.
A recent University of Akron graduate and amateur angler himself, Basting said he looks forward to helping with the event.
"I've been fishing my whole life, I love bass fishing," he said, adding he hopes to see plenty of youth anglers at the pond for the derby.
"Go down there, try hard, catch some fish and win some prizes," Basting said.