Six-year-old Kai McKnight was right at home fishing on the banks with his dad, Nathaniel White, Saturday.

The two spent the morning flanked by hundreds of other families who tried their luck at Take Kids Fishing Day at Jeffers Bend Environmental Center.

“It broke my line,” Kai said of a catfish he almost reeled in. “He took my worm.”

Dad guessed it was a big one.

“It’s a 50-pound line, so I estimate the fish was about 30 pounds,” White said.

Despite the one that got away, Kai said he had fun hanging out with his dad. The two often spend time at Lake Bly, Lake Tandy and Lake Morris.

“He’s been fishing since he could walk,” White said of his son.

Every few minutes, squeals would ring out from across the pond as another child snagged a fish.

Jessica Velazquez, 8, said it was exciting to catch a fish. She squeezed it off the line before shouting, “Ouch, it was sharp.”

She carried it by the line for the judges to mark it in the record book.

Cash prizes were awarded to kids with the longest, smallest and most fish in each category. Kids who won the casting and reeling contests received a bike.

Longtime volunteer Lewis Bradley said everyone was in good spirits throughout the day and helped those who were new to fishing.

“It’s all about the families,” Bradley said. “The great thing about fishing is the surprise because you never know what’s at the end of your line.”

For Kai, that was the draw.

“I love waiting and then getting the big fish,” he said.

Reach Zirconia Alleyne at 270-887-3243 or

Take Kids Fishing winners by category:

Ages 3 - 5

Longest fish - Aslan McGhee, 26 inches

Most fish - Malia Daniel, 10 inches

Smallest fish - Keaden Whitlock, 3 1/4 inches

Ages 6 - 8

Longest - China Croney, 25 inches

Most - Jamal Dawson, 15 inches

Smallest - Carlie Anderson, 3 inches

Ages 9 - 11

Longest - Derk Quiroz, 26 inches

Most - Landon Cansler, 11 inches

Smallest - Molly Cansler, 2 inches

Ages 12 - 15

Longest - Chase Johnson, 23 1/2 inches

Most - AiKiya Jones, 10 inches

Smallest - Gabiel Matthews, 3 inches

Ages 3 - 5

Casting - Olivia Martin, 61 inches

Reeling - Tim Wharton, 11.9 seconds

Ages 6 - 8

Casting - Austin Bashaw, 82 inches

Reeling - China Croney, 7.37 seconds

Ages 9 - 11

Casting - Jordan Catlett, 92 inches

Reeling - Karlee Smith, 6.19 seconds

Ages 12 - 15

Casting - Mason Spain, 99 inches

Reeling - Jacob Federick, 6.1 seconds

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