Fishing derbies in Batavia and South Elgin will offer kids and parents a chance to bond -- and maybe reel in a big catch -- this Father's Day weekend.
This type of event is new to Batavia, which will hold its fishing derby on Sunday, June 18.
South Elgin Tuna KahunaWhen: 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, June 17. Registration begins at 8 a.m.
Where: Blackhawk Park, 1479 Blackhawk Circle, South Elgin
Details: Participants must be 15 or younger and accompanied by an adult. www.southelgin.com
Batavia Park District Fishing Derby
When: 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, June 18
Where: Clark Island Recreation Area, 401 S. River St., Batavia.
Details: All ages welcome. bataviaparks.org
"This is the first year we are doing the fishing derby," said Katie Drum of Sycamore, director of marketing and public relations for the Batavia Park District.
Drum said a fishing derby seemed like a natural fit for a village full of parks, many of which are on the Fox River.
"We thought, why not use our Clark Recreation Center which is on the Fox River and create this great free event?" Drum said. "It's a wonderful location with a lot of other great things to do in that park as well as being right on the Fox River Trail."
South Elgin's Tuna Kahuna fishing contest is taking place for the 22nd year, according to Shane Hamilton of South Elgin, who has served as superintendent of parks and recreation for 18 years.
The contest, set for 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, June 17, carries on a tradition started by the Kiwanis Club.
"The Kiwanis Club started the fishing derby way back when," Hamilton said. "I volunteered for the event before I started working for the village. The whole focus was putting children and their fathers together and just let them have an experience together.
"Then the Kiwanis Club disbanded and we grabbed it at Parks and Recreation and kept it going," he added.
South Elgin's Tuna Kahuna history has had the time to create the kind of fish stories Batavia hopes to start creating.
"There's always some neat stories about a child coming out for the first time with their first Barbie or Snoopy fishing pole and landing a big carp with it and the fishing pole snapping in half. We have that sort of thing quite a bit," said Hamilton.
Both derbies hope to strengthen the bond between fathers and their kids through fishing, but neither limits the children's accompanying adult to dads.
"Anyone can come," Drum said. "We're kind of using Father's Day as a reason to bring families together, but we absolutely know that not all families have fathers."
In South Elgin, anglers must bring their own poles and bait.
"We do have the SS Minnow Bait Shop which is located on Route 31," Hamilton said. "They will be on site selling bait to anyone who needs it.
The prizes in South Elgin are based on five categories of fish: bass, catfish, bluegill, crappie and other, according to Hamilton, and participants will try their luck at the pond at Blackhawk Park.
"Prizes are awarded by the fish length, with weight being the tiebreaker," Hamilton said.
In Batavia, prizes are awarded through a raffle.
"All participants that come to Clark Island will be entered in a raffle. I believe we'll have six prizes. Anyone can win," Drum said.
"We also recognize that not everyone has fishing gear so we will have some children's poles and bait available while supplies last," she added.
Whether families attend the South Elgin Tuna Kahuna at Blackhawk Pond or the Fishing Derby at Clark Island in Batavia, both villages would simply like to see families come out and enjoy themselves.
"The whole focus was putting children and their fathers together and just letting them have an experience together," Drum said.
"But for us, it's all about the kids," Hamilton said. "If we can turn a kid on to fishing and continue that on through life, that's really our goal."