(July 16, 2021) The annual Art Hansen Memorial Youth Fishing Contest returns this Saturday in Ocean Pines.
The event is hosted by the Ocean Pines Anglers Club and will take place at the South Gate Pond in Veterans Park.
“The contest is in its 25th year and was named after the 1995 founder and first president of Ocean Pines Anglers Club,” Anglers Club Publicist Jack Barnes said.
The event is free and open to the public. It typically draws around 50 youth competitors, with family and friends in attendance to watch.
Registration will take place from 8:30-9:30 a.m. and the contest will run from 9-10:30 a.m. Participants will be spilt into three age brackets: 4-7, 8-11 and 12-16.
Competitors should bring their own fishing equipment, but bait will be provided.
Extra equipment will be available in the case of a fishing rod malfunction or if a contestant does not have one, but all participants are encouraged to bring their own, said Anglers Club Board Administrator John McFalls.
Trophies and fishing rods will be awarded to the top three competitors with the largest fish in each age group. Because of the support of the Berlin Optimist Club and the Atlantic Coast Sportfishing Association, all participants will leave with a prize.
“We arrange with the DNR to have about 500 bluegills stocked before the event to increase the youth’s chances of success, although a substantial number of fish are caught,” Barnes said.
In addition, a drawing will be held for two grand prizes: a deep-sea fishing trip aboard The Angler, and a custom Mike Vitak fishing rod. The participants will be given tickets for the drawing upon arrival.
Last year’s event was canceled due to the covid-19 pandemic, but the Ocean Pines Anglers Club is geared up for a big turnout this year with restrictions lifted.
“There is nothing more rewarding than watching a youth catch their first fish or watching the joy on their faces as they master a new skill,” Barnes said.
For more information about the event, call McFalls at 610-505-1697.