Children cast their lines into the lake as parents look on Saturday morning at the Clear Springs recreational area at Homochitto National Forest for the 2013 Kids Fishing Day event. The event allowed children the chance to compete against each other as they tried to catch the most pounds of catfish. (Michael Kerekes \ The Natchez Democrat)
Children cast their lines into the lake as parents look on Saturday morning at the Clear Springs recreational area at Homochitto National Forest for the 2013 Kids Fishing Day event. The event allowed children the chance to compete against each other as they tried to catch the most pounds of catfish. (Michael Kerekes \ The Natchez Democrat)

Children enjoy a day of fishing at Homochitto National Forest

Published 12:01am Sunday, April 28, 2013

MEADVILLE — Landon Leake and Weston Knight ended their morning of fishing with more than a big enough catch to show for it.

The two friends from Liberty competed in the 2013 Kids Fishing Day at the Clear Springs recreational area at Homochitto National Forest Saturday morning. Leake estimated he had a catch of 12 to 13 fish, while Knight said caught 16 or 17.

“It was just luck,” said Leake, 14. “Sometimes you catch them, sometimes you don’t.”

12-year-old Devion Smith tries to cast bait into a circled area as tournament staff member Daniel Perry looks on. (Michael Kerekes \ The Natchez Democrat)
12-year-old Devion Smith tries to cast bait into a circled area as tournament staff member Daniel Perry looks on. (Michael Kerekes \ The Natchez Democrat)

Knight, however, said there was a little more than luck involved with his haul. He credited his father, Randy Knight, who joined the boys, for coaching him properly Saturday morning.

“He was telling me when to set the hook and tighten the line,” Weston said.

Both Leake and Weston got into fishing because of their fathers, they said, and they enjoy casting a line whenever they have the chance. Weston said he likes coming to Clear Springs for the fishing tournament, since Homochitto National Forest staff fill the lake with catfish beforehand.

“They refill the lakes every year, and you can actually catch fish when you come,” Weston said. “They have a lot of fish, and it’s a nice area.”

Leake said he enjoys the competition that develops between himself and his potential catch every time a fish gets hooked.

“I like feeling them fight and pull when I’m reeling them in,” Leake said. “You have to get the hook right (to catch them).”

Children weren’t the only ones enjoying their Saturday morning out by the lake. Bude resident Kathy Bass came with her family to enjoy spending time with one another.

“We grew up coming to this lake,” she said. “Back then, you pretty much knew everyone that came out.”

Kirby resident Lance Smith, who was with Bass’ group, said the tournament was a great way to get children interested in the sport.

“The catfishing is fun for the kids,” Smith said. “I’ll be honest, you seldom catch fish unless they put them in (the lake). It’s important to have fun with kids, teach them fishing and let them catch more fish.”

It’s also important to give children something they can pass along to the next generation, Smith added.

Friends Landon Lake, left, and Weston Knight carry their haul to be weighed in. (Michael Kerekes \ The Natchez Democrat)
Friends Landon Lake, left, and Weston Knight carry their haul to be weighed in. (Michael Kerekes \ The Natchez Democrat)

“It’s a good, clean, fun sport,” he said. “It gets them out of the house and lets them learn something they can teach their kids.”

The tournament had a weigh-in at the end to see who caught the most fish, but that wasn’t the only competition available Saturday. Casting contests, where children tried to cast bait into a circle at a set distance, gave Kirby resident Devion Smith a chance to try to best other members of his family who were with him.

“It’s a little bit diffcult,” said Smith, 12. “You have to swing it out there, but not too hard.”

Smith’s cousin, Jada O’Neal, said she had fun at the event despite not catching any fish herself.

“I’m not frustrated, because other people in my family caught fish, and I still get to eat them, so I don’t have to catch any,” she said.