||Last Updated: May 8, 2013 - 9:19:48 AM
There are several different forms of bait that Fred Danziger might use to hook a fish. But when it comes to the Daniel Island Kids’ Fishing Tournament, an event he launched in 2011, it took just eight words, uttered by a child, to truly reel him in.
“It was the best day of my life!” he recalled the young angler saying after last year’s event.
To Danziger, a member of the Daniel Island Inshore Fishing Club, the organization that hosts the tournament at Smythe Lake, that simple phrase was by far the biggest “catch” of the day.
“I knew we did something right,” he said.
About 80 anglers, between the required ages of 5 and 15, cast lines in the 2011 tournament. The participant number rose to 86 in 2012, but scores of family members and other guests also turned out for the festivities. The 3rd annual event, to be held on Saturday, June 15, is expected to draw even more support - not only from anglers and guests but also from sponsors. Scout Boats is serving as the presenting sponsor of the tournament, and Sea Tow of Charleston, Longshore Boats, and Publix are also onboard to help.
“It really took off in a very positive direction last year,” added Danziger. “We are very excited about it.”
Children of families who reside or work on Daniel Island are invited to take part in the “catch and release” tournament. All anglers must be accompanied by an adult. Catches eligible for prizes are largemouth bass, bream (pan fish), and mullet. There is also a “mystery fish” category for other species found in the lake, such as eel or the elusive spot-tailed bass.
“Reliable sources tell us no one has caught a (spot-tailed bass) yet, so that could be a possibility!” added Danziger.
Awards will be given for the first, second, and third longest fish caught in the three primary categories, in addition to a prize for the longest “mystery fish” of any other species caught and for any tagged largemouth bass.
“Last year, the largest mullet was 18 inches long,” said Danziger. “That’s the largest mullet I’ve ever seen!
A “Grand Champion Award” will be given to the angler who nets the longest fish of the three eligible species. The winner will receive a half day fishing trip with Captain Greg Peralta. The tournament will award a total of 21 prizes, including certificates identifying winning anglers and their catches, fishing rods, a signed soccer ball from the Charleston Battery, tickets to a Battery game, restaurant gift certificates and more. There will also be a raffle for a half-day kayaking fishing trip with Captain David White.
Danziger commended the Daniel Island Property Owners Association for not only donating the use of Smythe Park for the event, but also for keeping the lake stocked with fish.
“I can’t speak highly enough about them,” he said. “They’ve been extremely supportive!”
Danziger also couldn’t be happier with the tournament’s success thus far, and encouraged youth anglers of all skill levels to come out and take part in a sport that has something for everyone.
“It’s a hobby that brings people together – friends and family members,” he said. “In my own life as a child, when my dad would first take me out, and then some older neighbors would take me under their wing, there was a special bond that formed…It was never about the fish. It was always about the fishing, the experience of it all.”
For kids, who are often lured indoors by video games and other electronic devices, fishing literally offers a way out, Danziger added.
“With the age of computers and games, kids are always indoors. They’re not doing things with nature, outdoors experiencing the beauty of the clouds passing by, the alligators swimming, or the eagles flying overhead. (Fishing) just makes you appreciate the natural beauty we have right around us and how grateful we must be for those things.”
The 2013 Daniel Island Kids’ Fishing Tournament will benefit the Daniel Island Library. Angler registration forms and tournament instructions can be found at several locations on Daniel Island, including Publix, Qwik Pack and Ship, Daniel Island Library, the Daniel Island Property Owners Association, and Sun Trust Bank. Pre-registration is requested at a cost of $5 per angler. Participants can also register on the day of the event from 8 to 8:30 am for $8 per angler. Fishing will take place from 9 to 11:30, followed by the awards ceremony. For additional information, contact Danziger at (516) 524-2208.
Fishing Q&A with Captain Greg Peralta
Captain Greg Peralta, a member of the Daniel Island Inshore Fishing Club and frequent contributor to The Daniel Island News, provided answers to our fishing questions.
I want to give fishing a try! How do I get started?
Local tackle shops and fishing clubs are great resources that support the beginning anglers. I recommend attending club meetings (the DI Inshore Fishing Club is great) and visiting local tackle shops. You will meet friendly people that are passionate about fishing and very willing to share information. Additionally, the fishing club has group fishing trips that can serve as a great introduction to fishing.
What types of equipment and accessories should I have? Is there a specific pole you recommend and where can I get one?
For general inshore fishing for species such as Flounder, Trout and Redfish, I recommend pound class spinning tackle. A 7’ medium light rod matched with 2000 frame reel is a good all around outfit.
Where should I go to fish on Daniel Island, and elsewhere (best fishing spots in your opinion)?
The ponds on DI have good numbers of Bass and Bream. When it is to rough on the river, I can usually be found fishing the ponds on the island. If you do not have a boat, the dock in front of the Children’s Park is a good spot to fish.
What types of fish are best to catch?
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. In my opinion all fish are great! I don’t always keep fish but when I do, I keep a Flounder. Perhaps I can be the most interesting angler in the world?
What do I do if the fish aren’t biting?
The Lowcountry is a scenic place. When the fish are not biting, simply look around. Remember, fishing is about sharing the experience with family and friends (catching fish is a bonus).
What’s your best advice for a beginning fisherman?
There is always something new to learn or see. This is what keeps fishing interesting. Take a few moments to observe your surroundings. You will see incredible wildlife and natural beauty.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Do not measure the success of a fishing trip by the number of fish that you catch. A successful trip is time spent in an incredible beautiful environment with people you care about.