117 kids from the Keys, all ten years old and younger, participated in the 18th Annual Keys Kids Fishing Derby on September 27. Hosted at the Lorelei in Islamorada with local businesses filling ditty bags full of goodies, including a fishing rod from Fish Florida, the eager anglers had their lines in the water by 9:00 a.m.
“The Keys Kids Derby’s main purpose is to educate young anglers,” stated tournament director Dianne Harbaugh. “This is the best day of the year, just watching these kids have fun catching and releasing fish. There, many kids that get to catch their first fish!”
The anglers could fish in one of three different divisions – Offshore, Shoreline or Backcountry – with awards given for three different age groups within each division. The Grand Champion Angler Beau Vaeth, age 10, tipped the scales with a 36.4 pound Amberjack, the largest fish in the tournament. The Most Outstanding Catch awards went to Harlee Beeler with a 25 inch snook and Tyler Mell with a 32 inch Redfish; both fish were released.