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Kids reel in fish, prizes at Fountain derby
“There you go.”
“Good job, son.”
“I’ve got one!”
Exclamations and soft-spoken affirmations wafted through the air at Fountain’s Willow Springs Ponds Saturday.
More than 120 children gathered at the recreation area for its fourth annual Kid’s Fishing Derby, sponsored by El Paso County Parks, Outlaw Baits, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Attendees 15 and younger were allowed to fish for free.
Many left with door and raffle prizes like rods, reels and line.
“I want to keep kids on the water and not at home all the time,” said Robert Mininger, a professional fisherman who sponsors and volunteers at the annual event.
Meghan Gumina and her 6-year-old twins, Anthony and Ryan, changed their weekly routine for Saturday’s derby. The family usually fishes every Sunday. This week they opted for Saturday in a bid to take home a prize.
The twins weren’t exactly thrilled with the extra competition. Most Sundays they catch more than five fish.
As of 10 a.m. Saturday, they’d caught just one blue gill.
“I’m catching a lot of weeds,” Ryan said.
Not so for Justin Furstenwerth.
The 13-year-old was on a roll, wth three fish by 10:30 a.m.
“She’s pregnant, dad,” he announced to his father, Marty, as he examined his latest catch.
Marty, an avid fisherman who has taught his son to identify the gender of fish, left his pole in his truck Saturday.
“It’s more about them having fun than me catching fish,” he said of Justin and James, his other son.
James, also 13, did his best to lure fish with nontraditional bait.
“I’ve had no luck getting any with the sour gummy worms,” he said while baiting a hook with one.
Fountain Valley Bass Club secretary Jeanne Gizzi mingled with young anglers, distributing bait, hooks, meal worms and advice.
“It’s a family-fun thing,” Gizzi said. “The family that plays together stays together.”