08/04/13 — City opens golf course pond to fishing families

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City opens golf course pond to fishing families

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on August 4, 2013 1:50 AM

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Joseph Wemmering was the only child at the Big Cats: Kids Catfishing Tournament at the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course this Saturday to catch a piranha -- or so he said.

"Oh, it was huge. I think it was a piranha. It looked like one," he said.

His grandma, Anna Cruz, seated a few feet away laughed quietly.

"We try something new every once in a while," she said.

And for the Wemmering and Cruz-Cobb children, fishing was definitely something new.

Joseph and Brianna Wemmering were up on an embankment about 10 feet away from the water casting their lines at Hole 16, while the brothers Zach and Kristopher Cruz-Cobb were working at trying to take a a 4-inch long brim off Zach's hook.

"I finally caught something," Zach yelled. "I don't think I can take it off."

Kristopher helped, and the flopping fish fell on the ground. The two then struggled to pick it up and toss it back.

Meanwhile, their sister, Izzy Cruz-Cobb sat on the bank a few feet away, silently watching the action while she held her own cane pole a few feet from the water.

The two brothers then teamed up again trying to bait their hooks with live red worms, fussing all the while, and Anna Cruz continued to laugh.

And all around the pond, the scenes of families either trying to fish or successfully fishing played out thanks to the organization of the event by the Goldsboro Parks and Rec Department.

Sponsoring the catfishing tournament for the second year, Recreation Superintendent Felicia Brown said Goldsboro residents had been asking the department to hold a water-themed event, and that the catfishing tournament was the answer.

The Saturday morning event drew 65 children and their families trying their hands at catfishing in a pond at the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course.

"We're one of the few parks and rec departments who will hold a fishing tournament at a golf course," Ms. Brown said.

The golf course stocks catfish in their ponds because catfish tend to eat algae and keep the pond healthy, she said.

For the tournament, Parks and Rec provided fishing poles and bait in case there was anyone without the necessary fishing equipment. They also gave out T-shirts and a free lunch after the fishing excitement.

"We got a lot of kids that it's their first time fishing," Ms. Brown said. "It's a mixture. You'll have a lot of kids who don't necessarily know how to fish but their parents do, and for others, it's their first time picking up a fishing pole."

To win the tournament, children were required to catch catfish with special orange tags placed earlier in the week. Throughout the two-hour event, only one child was able to hook the prize.

The overall winner, Matthew Wilkins, 9 1/2, caught 11 untagged fish and one tagged catfish. He and his father, Dennis Wilkins, go fishing almost every weekend, and Matthew's knowledge helped him out as he tried to set his hook a little closer to the bottom of the pond (catfish tend to burrow in the mud of ponds). The duo also brought their own bait to the tournament -- big nightcrawlers.

"(Fishing) is a nice way to get out and have a nice time," Matthew said.

Other families may not have had as much luck fishing, but they looked to be having just as much fun.

The Shingleton family drove down from Snow Hill to participate in the tournament and to take advantage of a cheap, yet fun morning of fishing.

At the end of day, Tony Shingleton and his two daughters, Deeanna, 12, and Emily, 10, caught four catfish but none of them were tagged.

"But we have enjoyed it. It's nice for the children to come out," Tony said.

His two daughters were casting like pros, lobbing their bobbers in the middle of the pond yet sometimes tangling their lines.

The Rouse family brought their two daughters, Tinley and Jurney Rouse, as well as grandma Sandra Payne, grandpa John Payne, uncle John Payne Jr., and cousins Gabe and Alycia Payne, to the fishing tournament. But everyone mostly paid attention to Tinley, the two-foot tall toddler whose idea of fishing was stirring up the mud with her eight-foot long cane pole.

"This is Tinley's first time holding a fishing pole," said her father, Brandon Rouse.

Her sister, Jurney Rouse, was a lot more experienced, her grandmother, Mrs. Payne, said, calling her a "veteran fisherwoman."

Jurney was trying to teach Tinley some of the basics of bait by showing her worms, but Tinley was too busy running around trying to experience everything at once.

Although fishing was the main attraction for the day, Brandon said the best experience was riding the bus to Hole 16. During the ride, Tinley started to get scared and upset, and the family tried to distract her with their rendition of "The Wheels on the Bus." Pretty soon, the whole bus was singing along, and Tinley even squeaked out a few notes.

"We wouldn't miss that for nothing," he said.