Families Create Lasting Memories at Annual Bankhead Youth Fishing Derby


EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The Bankhead National Forest came alive with excitement on Saturday, June 8, as over 60 children and their families cast their lines and reeled in memories at the 29th Annual Bankhead Youth Fishing Derby in Alabama.

This much-anticipated event, hosted by the USDA Forest Service, Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries and local partners, featured approximately 400 pounds of stocked catfish, ensuring an exciting experience for all young anglers.

Beyond the fishing fun, the day was packed with a variety of activities, including airsoft shooting, casting contests, a Gyotaku Japanese fish printing art station and interactive educational booths. These engaging activities were designed to not only entertain but also educate children about the importance of appreciating and conserving our natural environment.

The National Wild Turkey Federation Bankhead Beards and Spurs chapter played a significant role in the success of this event, donating $500 to support any needs the Forest Service had. The chapter also provided an NWTF JAKES Take Aim trailer, allowing children to experience target shooting, clay target shooting and shotgun shooting in a safe and enjoyable environment. Additionally, every child who signed up for the fishing derby received a JAKES membership.

Support from the chapter, along with generous donations from various sponsors, ensured that each child received a t-shirt, water bottle, goodie bag and a door prize. One lucky child was awarded a lifetime freshwater fishing license, courtesy of the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association.

This event was held in conjunction with National Fishing and Boating Week, Alabama Free Fishing Day and National Get Outdoors Day.

Notable winners of this year’s casting contest were:

  • Lila Culberson of Florence
  • Niki Comes of Russellville
  • Kaden Lee of Addison

These winners were awarded custom Forest Service rods and reels along with stocked tackle boxes.

The biggest fish of the day, measuring an impressive 20 ¼ inches, was caught by Adaleigh Batchelor of Haleyville.

Trophies and prizes for the biggest fish in different age groups were awarded as follows:

5-6 Year Old Group:

  • 1st Place: Samuel Walker of Dora
  • 2nd Place: Colten Vess of Moulton

7-9 Year Old Group:

  • 1st Place: Sophia Garcia of Double Springs
  • 2nd Place: Hannah Richards of Moulton

10-12 Year Old Group:

  • 1st Place: Saibre Dover of Addison
  • 2nd Place: Mack Lee of Addison

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