Lakeside Optimist 12th Annual Fishing Derby

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Lindo Lake may not be anywhere near as large as the nearby Pacific Ocean, but there was more than enough shoreline for local children to cast a line at the 12th annual Lakeside Optimist Fishing Derby last Saturday.

Face painting, a petting zoo and free hot dogs kept both participants and parents entertained when they decided to take a break from the lake.

Lakeside Optimist Club President Harry McKinstry said the event had a large turnout.

Lindo Lake may not be anywhere near as large as the nearby Pacific Ocean, but there was more than enough shoreline for local children to cast a line at the 12th annual Lakeside Optimist Fishing Derby last Saturday.

Face painting, a petting zoo and free hot dogs kept both participants and parents entertained when they decided to take a break from the lake.

Lakeside Optimist Club President Harry McKinstry said the event had a large turnout.

“We got maybe 350 kids out today, signed up,” he said. “We’re going to award prizes to each age group for first, second, third place for the biggest fish, and the smallest fish. We even give an award for the smallest guy in the whole bunch.”

McKinstry, Derby chairman D.J. Board and the 2015 Miss Bulls-Only Rodeo Brittany Taylor, handed out new rods, tackle boxes and bicycles to the award winners while also raffling off other prizes like basketballs, first-aid kits and tickets to the Bulls-Only Rodeo on July 17 and 18.

Robert Blaylock, 12, reeled in the Derby’s largest fish at 3.37 lbs. The Tierra del Sol Middle School student said he was there because his goats, Winter and Luna, were a part of the Manzanita 4-H club’s petting zoo.

“I was like, ‘Hey, I’m bored,” he said. “Might as well go fishing.’ I was getting ready to give up and then I caught a fish.”

His father, Mike, said they were lucky to have driven a truck to Lindo Lake Park so they could take home his son’s new bike. He also laughed as he pointed out his muddy feet.

“Got a little jump in the lake there to catch it,” he said. “The line broke just as he got it to shore.”

Board, who founded the Derby, said the Optimists stocked Lindo Lake with 1000 lbs. of catfish in anticipation of the large crowd.

“We pay for the fish, we pay for the food, we pay for the prizes,” he said. “This is the way we give back to the community, for not only the kids supporting us but the parents and the grandparents. They come to our fish fry, they come to our spaghetti dinner, they come to our barbecue dinner, they come to our Bulls-Only Rodeo. This is our way to give back to the community.”

He also said they do little advertising for the event in order to help keep the event local.
“We bring the Fish Derby trailer through the parade,” he said. “Basically, that’s it. It’s word of mouth. This is what you get. No advertising… nobody really knows about it other than Lakeside.”

Volunteers from the San Diego Rod and Reel Club were on hand to cook about 1000 hot dogs, said club president Alex Williamson. He also said the hard work was worthwhile.

“The reason why we do this, and all the volunteers at San Diego Rod and Reel feel the same way, it’s about seeing that kid catch his first fish,” he said. “There’s nothing better than seeing a kid with his first fish. Absolutely nothing better.”