For Ashley Crump, Dellinger Park’s fishing events continue to be moments to treasure. On Saturday, the Cartersville resident took part in Cartersville Parks and Recreation Department’s offering with her 7-year-old son, Link.
“We always look forward to fishing at Dellinger Park,” Crump said. “Link was counting down the days all week. Most likely you are going to catch a lot of different types of fish. Link loves to fish as much as he loves to play ball.
“Our family is very competitive so it usually ends up in a friendly competition of who caught the most. He beat me this time with three catfish and one brim. He really wanted to catch the large-mouth bass a lady caught next to us.”
Through the complementary fishing days at Dellinger Park, Crump has delighted in spending quality time with her loved ones over the past decade. Her family’s tradition continued this year in the midst of a pandemic and drizzly weather.
“I’m glad the rain held off long enough for us to get out there,” Crump said. “We were afraid it was going to be a muddy pit. It was nice slowing down and enjoying the one-on-one time with Link.
“Teaching him how to safely bait his own hook and fish without a bobber are memories we will both cherish. Link asked if we could have some food delivered for lunch because he didn't want to leave."
As with other angling events, participants brought their fishing gear and bait, and secured a spot at Dellinger Park Lake, located at 100 Pine Grove Road in Cartersville.
“Our family has been enjoying the special fishing days for about 10 years now, starting with my stepson Cole who is now 18,” Crump said. “Somehow, little events, like this, have turned into an annual family tradition just like the Kiddie Day Parade.
“My father would take my brother, sister and I fishing when we were little. I’m grateful I now get to give the same experiences to my children. Link started fishing when he was 3 years old.”
While Saturday’s event drew only a few people, Dellinger Park’s fishing days are normally a popular offering, with some attracting about 350 anglers.
“I enjoy seeing the kids’ faces light up the most and the joy hooking a fish brings,” Britt McGill — assistant director for Cartersville Parks and Recreation Department — said prior to the event. "It’s also fun to see a parent or grandparent’s excitement when their little one or grandchild hooks a fish for the first time.”
Even though National Hunting and Fishing Day was celebrated in September, Cartersville Parks and Recreation Department commemorated it with Saturday’s event.
“The U.S. Congress and President Richard Nixon first established National Hunting and Fishing Day — fourth Saturday in September — in 1973 to recognize generations of hunters and anglers for the time and money they donate to wildlife conservation programs,” said Melissa Cummings, communications and outreach specialist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resource’s Wildlife Resources Division. "Together with hunting and fishing license fees, federal aid programs have funded game animals and sport fish conservation, habitat acquisition and outdoor recreation opportunities both in Georgia and throughout the country.”
With many events related to National Hunting and Fishing Day canceled due to COVID-19, Cummings was “excited to hear” about the Dellinger Park offering.
“While we were pleased to still offer a few kids fishing events at some of our state-managed Public Fishing Areas on National Hunting and Fishing Day, we did have to cancel our annual Outdoor Adventure Days held across the state,” she said. “These events are relatively large, attracting crowds in the 1,000-2,000 range and we wanted to be respectful of the governor’s guidance and not encourage large crowds of people to congregate together. Smaller events, such as local kids fishing events, seem to have been able to operate well despite the pandemic as we can socially distance the attendees, encourage mask-wearing and are outdoors.”