At the Delaware State Fair July 25, Gov. Jack Markell, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara, U.S. EPA Region III Administrator Shawn M. Garvin and Division of Fish and Wildlife Director David Saveikis honored the winners of the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s 27th annual Youth Fishing Tournament held June 8.
The Sussex County winner, second place statewide, is 14-year-old Will Geppert of Rehoboth Beach, who caught 7.2 pounds of fish in Ingrams Pond.
This year’s tournament drew a total of 194 young anglers and their families. The New Castle County location, Lums Pond in Bear, drew 88 children and teens casting lines, while at Kent County’s Wyoming Pond, 42 youngsters turned out. Sussex County reeled in 64 young anglers at Ingrams Pond in Millsboro. Winners received fishing rods and tackle boxes as well as trophies, and all participants received prizes. All of the fish caught in the tournament were weighed and released.
The biggest fish of the day was a largemouth bass weighing 1.11 pounds, caught by Zach Rowe of Greenwood. Olivia Marzullo of Georgetown caught the smallest fish of the day, a 0.44-ounce bluegill. Another interesting catch was a snapping turtle caught by Ian Rieley of Millsboro.
Sussex County winners, by age group and total weight of fish caught, were:
Ages 4 to 7
First place - Andrew Wertz, 6, of Lewes, 2.13 pounds
Second place - Noah Harshbarger, 6, of Millsboro, 2.08 pounds
Third place - Camrin Croney, 7, of Ocean View, 1.72 pounds
Ages 8 to 11
First place - Yatzel Calderon, 8, of Georgetown, 2.01 pounds
Second place - Caden Cope, 9, of Georgetown, 1.79 pounds
Third place - Zachary Hicks, 8, of Greenwood, 1.76 pounds
Ages 12 to 15
First place - Will Geppert, 14, of Rehoboth Beach, 7.20 pounds
Second place - Hunter Lied, 14, of Millsboro, 3.29 pounds
Third place - Jase Meredith, 14, of Milford, 2.67 pounds
The Youth Fishing Tournament was established to introduce youth to the sport of fishing and to teach the catch-and-release approach to conservation. The free tournament, held annually in June, is open to youth ages 4 to 15. The Division of Fish and Wildlife-sponsored tournament is entirely organized and run by the officers of the Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section, with a fisheries biologist serving as official weigh master at each of the three ponds during the event.
For more information on the Youth Fishing Tournament, call 302-739-9913 or go to www.fw.delaware.gov/Info/YouthFishing.htm.