By Ron VandenBoom
Nine teams of two children each spent part of last Saturday competing for about $400 in prizes at the annual Fresno Chapter of Waleyes Unlimited Youth Challenge at Fresno Reservoir.
An equal number of parents and guardians also help supervise the festivities that lasted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the kids enjoyed a free lunch of hot dogs and pop prepared by Waleye member, Pat Lamphier.
Prizes were to be awarded for the top three weights, the top northern pike weight, and the largest perch.
As fate would have it, only one northern was captured and no perch caught Saturday so Challenge organizers Bill Wertzberger, Terry Wolf, and Mike Barthel decided to awarded a fourth place for the top four waleye catches.
Capturing first prize for the day with a total weight of 6.35 pounds was the team of Elizabeth and Azalea Kaasa. Elizabeth also won the prize for the largest fish of the day with her reeling in a 5.1 pound, 25 inch waleye.
Second place went to the team of Kyle and Michaela Boles with a total weight of 2.98 pounds.
Third place went to Tisha Christopherson and Drake Zubatch for their catch of 2.32 pounds.
Fourth place went to Charley Hulett and Lance Stenson for a 2.25 pound catch.
All fish not kept for the final weigh-in were released by the winners and according to Kassa, the 5.1 pound waleye caught by Elizabeth will also be released.
The winners also received new fishing poles and tackle boxes filled with tackle.
Also on Saturday's agenda was a casting contest where the kids attempted to land their plug in a ice cooler.
Elizabeth Kaasa again ran away with top honors in this event and won another fishing rod and tackle as well as the cooler they used as a casting target.
The total weight of the fish caught Saturday topped 19.43 pounds.