IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR ALL ANGLERS:
ADULTS: You MUST get your Fishing License and Sturgeon Report Card BEFORE Derby Day! The Bait Shops will have hundreds of people in line to buy bait. They will NOT be able to provide Fishing Licenses or Sturgeon Cards on Derby Day. Do NOT expect to get a Fishing License or Sturgeon Report Card at any of the bait shops on Derby Day!
KIDS: The Kid's Division of the Derby is, "KIDS CATCH AND RELEASE ANY FISH DERBY" and the idea is for kids to have fun fishing. To be entered in the drawing they only need to catch and release any fish (Bass, Flounder, Kingfish, Bullhead, whatever). If you will have children (under 16) fishing with you, they do NOT need a Fishing License. Because they are targeting other species (any fish) AND must release any fish they catch, they do NOT need to get a Sturgeon Report Card.
“It is time again for the Diamond Classic Catch and Release Sturgeon Derby. This will be the 16th year and every year it grows and grows. I created this derby because I wanted one that was fair and fun, and also promoted catch and release. In this day and age we need to try and protect our fisheries for the future. In this derby fishermen learn that while it is exciting to harvesting a fish, it is also a great to release a fish. Personally, I like to harvest fish and game for my own table; however I also like to release a healthy fish when I have enough to enjoy. It is a great feeling releasing a healthy fish to fight another day. How many people can say they have released a keeper or legal sturgeon! Not only do you become part of an elite group, you are helping the fishery so our children’s children can enjoy what we enjoy.
Now I have no problem with people harvesting their catch as long as it gets used responsibly. The trick is to educate the public to learn to both harvest and catch and release so we can maintain a fishery that allows us to do both. I would hate to see the day when sturgeon fishing becomes a catch and release sport only or worse no sturgeon fishing at all! The derby I created does a few things: it teaches fishermen, children and the general public that it is a good to release sturgeon and other fish, and that most fishermen due care about our fishery. I am also very proud of the way the fishermen in the derby conduct themselves. I have been fortunate to have quality fishermen that show a lot of class. I structured this derby using on-the-water weigh masters that run to your boat as soon as someone on the boat gets a hook up. I want the weigh master, when possible, to witness the fight, then measure the fish in the water and then release the fish while in the water.
This year we are going to have a weigh master manager or dispatcher anchored near the center of the fishing zone. He will oversee and dispatch weigh masters as needed. The weigh master will also verify that everyone in the boat has entered into the derby. We do not award prizes based on largest size or a target size, a ticket is awarded for each fish caught within the legal keeper range and released healthy. A fishermen can catch and release as many fish as he or she wants and the more legal size fish he or she releases the more times their name (for each ticket awarded) goes into the drawing for the prize money. 100% of the entry money goes back to the fishermen in the form of cash prizes. At the end of the derby I will ask for a volunteer, historically one of the kids, to draw from the names of all the fishermen that released a keeper fish. This year prizes will be awarded for 1st through 7th place. We also have a kid’s category this year. My goal here is to teach children that fishing can be fun and that it is also fun and good to release fish. Kids enter for free and all they have to do is catch and release any type of fish. We will draw names from a hat full of all the kids’ names that released a fish for the prizes. With the help from our sponsors and supporters I hope to have enough prizes so that every kid goes home with something. I attached the derby rules, procedures and the flyer. Let me know if you have any questions. I am very proud of this derby and I hope that everyone involved has a great time and learns something to help our fishery.