For a memorable day of fishing, an angler might take along a fishing partner, preferably a youngster or wheelchair-bound adult who yearns for the chance to reel in a big one.
Fishing opportunities are everywhere, especially in the coming weeks. The Georgia State Parks system is sponsoring a kids’ fishing derby at Gen. Coffee State Park near Nichols from 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, May 11. The event is free for kids ages 3-15. There is a $5 parking fee. Participants must bring their own gear. For more information, call 912-384-7082,
There are two kids fishing events Saturday, June 8. Laura S. Walker State Park near Waycross is hosting an event for ages 13 and younger who are accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more information, call 912-287-4900. Also, Fort Stewart is holding its biannual Kids Fishing Day on June 8 at Pond 30. Call 767-4316 for more information.
According to Marion Baker, assistant manager at Walker State Park, these fishing events include wheelchair access. Bill Cooney, outdoor recreation supervisor, said there are areas along the shore of Fort Stewart’s Pond 30 that are wheelchair-accessible.
A special tournament benefiting children suffering with cancer is taking place tomorrow. The Long County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Safety’s Motor Carrier Compliance Division are hosting the second annual Fishin’ for a Cure at the Altamaha River. Long County Sheriff Craig Nobles said proceeds from the $50 entry fee for anglers 13 and older will be donated to Micah Smiley, Allison Foster and Emma Goober. For registration or more information, go to www.fishinforacure.com.
Fishing opportunities in Liberty and surrounding counties abound for freshwater and saltwater fishing. Many of these fishing sites have wheelchair-accessible docks that are kid-friendly, as long as the child is accompanied and closely supervised by an adult.
Lake Pamona, a 100-acre lake off Camp Viking Road about 8 miles east of Interstate 95 from Midway, has a boat launch, but anglers can fish from a 96-foot dock or 48-foot dock. A picnic table and bathrooms are available. The dockside shoreline is shaded by moss-covered oaks and pecan trees, where red-winged blackbirds cheer and jeer each other throughout the day.
Owners Dock and Cheryl Donaldson said both kids and wheelchair-bound adults have fished from the docks. There are no railings on the dock, which is why Donaldson emphasizes careful supervision of youngsters. He said the average depth of the lake is 4-6 feet.
“My daddy-in-law built this lake in 1955,” said Donaldson, an Air Force veteran and retired paramedic. “It’s about the best-kept secret in Liberty County. We have bream, bass, catfish and crappie. The biggest crappie I’ve ever measured that came out of here was 2 1/2 pounds, and the biggest bass caught here was 14 pounds.”
Donaldson said Lake Pamona is like any other lake in Georgia where snake sightings are common, including cottonmouths and moccasins. He said there also are alligators in the lake.
Cheryl Donaldson said the bait to use can vary.
“Fish are kind of like us,” she said. “They’ll bite one thing one day, then something else the next. Usually, you can catch bream, catfish and crappie with bread, biscuits or hotdogs. Worms generally do well, too.”
The Donaldsons ask anglers to put a fishing fee of $5 per person older than 6 in an envelope with the name of each fisherman and description of their vehicle. Envelopes should be placed in the mailbox that’s near the lake.
No state fishing license is required.