The Police Athletic League Fishing Derby will take place on Sunday, Oct. 21, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the PAL pond, located on the PAL grounds at 2099 Riverside Drive, in Huntington.
The derby is free to enter and open to boys and girls ages 5 to 17. Entry forms are available at four locations in Huntington: the Huntington Police Department, located at 300 Cherry St.; the Trophy Center Plus, located at 414 N. Jefferson St.; the 1776 Sporting Club, located at 411 N. Jefferson St.; and Bud's Fish 'N Hole, located at 908 W. Markle Rd. Entry forms must be dropped off at the Huntington Police Department lobby by Monday, Oct. 15.
The derby will contain five age groups - five to six, seven to eight, nine to 10, 11 to 12 and 13 to 17. A trophy will be awarded in each age group for the largest fish caught and the participant who catches the largest fish of the day will be the Derby Champion and receive a special trophy. Prizes will be awarded in each age group for the most inches of fish caught. If a participant catches the white albino catfish that was put in the pond two years ago, they will receive a special prize.
Some fishing poles will be available, but participants are encouraged to bring their own pole if they have one. It is also recommended that participants bring their own tackle box so they do not run out of hooks and bait. No artificial baits will be allowed.
Volunteers are needed for Clean Up Day on Tuesday, Oct. 9, which will start at 9 a.m. at the PAL pond. Volunteers are asked tobring such items as weed eaters, hand saws, wheel barrows, shovels, etc., to help tidy-up the pond for the derby. Volunteers will also be needed on the day of the derby itself. To volunteer on either or both days, contact the Huntington Police Department at 356-7110 or Dan Bickel at 356-3335.
Fifty blue gill fillets are being raffled off to offset expenses. Tickets may be purchased at any of the locations where entry forms are available or by calling Dan Bickel. The winner will be drawn at the derby.
Derby organizers welcome the donation of prizes. It is preferred that the prizes be fishing-related, but any prizes appropriate for 5-year-olds to teenagers will be accepted. Monetary donations will also be accepted.
Checks must be made payable to the PAL Fishing Derby. Call the Huntington Police Department or Dan Bickel to have them pick up your donation, monetary or otherwise.
The derby was organized by Bickel, with help from Detective Shane Jones and the PAL.
"There are two objectives I would like to meet," Bickel says. "Number one is to introduce kids to fishing. If they already fish, keep their interest. Number two is to have kids get up close and personal with some of our police officers. These guys are parents and grandparents, just like the rest of us. I would like our kids to see them as such."
Bickel concludes: "If I can keep one kid fishing and connect one police officer and a kid, I believe my fishing derby will be a success."