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Fishing with the family

Ostego Bay Foundation hosts annual kids fishing tournament

July 3, 2018
Jessica Salmond - News Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Aunts and uncles, grandchildren and cousins, parents and kids. The annual Ostego Bay Marine Science Center kids fishing tournament at Bonita Bill's is all about family.

Jessica Daniels of Lehigh Acres grew up attending the tournament with her cousins.

"My family are all beach babies," she said. "It's a family tradition."

Article Photos

Sadie Johnson, 14, of Fort Myers caught a 17-inch Spanish mackerel.

So now, it's her turn: she brought her 5-year-old niece, Jayla Youngs, to enter the tournament for her first year. Daniels said she started at 5, too.

"It's her time now," she said.

Families scattered around the docks at Bonita Bill's to cast their lines and try their luck Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon.

The fish were plentiful; the participants caught lots of catfish, grouper and Spanish mackerel.

Joanne Semmer, president of Ostego Bay, said it'd been a long time since anyone's caught mackerel at the docks.

The kids tournament has been an annual event at Bonita Bill's since 1992; before that, it was held on the Fort Myers Beach Pier. It's been going on long enough that the tournament has now gotten two generations in attendance.

"It's a family bonding event," said Daniel Eaton, with Ostego Bay.

Every child receives a prize, and there are trophies for most fish, longest fish, heaviest fish and strangest catch. All the food and prizes are donated or paid for by local businesses.

Aliana Coleman, 5, caught her first fish early on during the tournament - a catfish.

"I feel good about it," she said. "I've been waiting all morning."

Check this week's Observer for more photos.



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