Take a kid fishing opportunities

Brittany Tolburt was the girls 12-16 winner in the 2014 Folly Beach Anglers Kids Fishing Tournament with this 2-pound, 8.5-ounce flounder.

The next two weekends offer great opportunities to introduce youngsters to fishing, both saltwater and freshwater. The Folly Beach Anglers’ seventh annual Kids Fishing Tournament will be held from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the Folly Beach Pier. And the National Fishing Week Youth Fishing Rodeo will take place the following Saturday, June 13, from 7:30-11 a.m. at the Sewee Center Pond in Awendaw.

“We’ve improved every year as far as attendance,” said Daniel Culpepper of the Folly Beach Anglers, who help put on the event. “Last year we had 220 youth anglers and we expect more this year. Counting parents and volunteers, we had more than 400 participants.”

Culpepper praised the community of Folly Beach, the Charleston Inshore Anglers, the regular pier fishermen and the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission for pitching in to make the tournament a success.

In order to accommodate the large number of anglers, Culpepper said this year’s event has been planned around a high tide so there will be more fishing waters available to participants.

There is no cost to participate and no pre-registration required. The tournament is open to youth 16 and younger, with three age groups each for boys and girls. There will be a total of six first-place prizes and a trophy for the biggest fish of the day. All fish must comply with S.C. Department of Natural Resources regulations, and no sharks or rays will be allowed.

“We have gathered 150 rods and reels to loan out, and we also will have double drop rigs, hooks, weights and bait shrimp,” Culpepper said. “We try to keep it simple. Just show up and fish.”

Culpepper said the tournament has been renamed the Jerry Pierce Memorial Kids Fishing Tournament to honor one of the original supporters of the event who recently died following a lengthy battle with cancer.

The Youth Fishing Rodeo at the Sewee Visitor Center, 5821 Highway 17 North, Awendaw, is part of National Fishing Week.

The tournament is open to youth ages 6-12, and sign-up is required by June 6. Call (843) 928-3368 to register. There must be one adult per two children and the event is limited to 85 youth.

Bait, prizes, food and some assistance will be provided, and youth will have an opportunity to make a Fish Art T-shirt.

The Sewee Youth Fishing Rodeo is sponsored by the Sampit Bassmasters, Friends of S.C. Refuge and Forests, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and Francis Marion National Forest.

So don’t miss out on one of these golden opportunities. Better yet, make plans to participate in both.