Breaking News Bar
updated: 6/14/2017 6:05 AM

Fishing derbies beckon families to Batavia, South Elgin

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Amber Gnutek, 9, of South Elgin, catches a bluegill with help from her father, Matt Gnutek, at South Elgin's Tuna Kahuna fishing derby last year. It was the pair's second year competing in the event.

    Amber Gnutek, 9, of South Elgin, catches a bluegill with help from her father, Matt Gnutek, at South Elgin's Tuna Kahuna fishing derby last year. It was the pair's second year competing in the event.
    Daily Herald File Photo

  • Vincent Galassi, 5, of South Elgin, holds up his recently-caught crappie alongside his grandfather, Mike Lifka of South Elgin, during the Tuna Kahuna fishing derby last year in South Elgin. Both South Elgin and Batavia are holding fishing derbies this weekend.

    Vincent Galassi, 5, of South Elgin, holds up his recently-caught crappie alongside his grandfather, Mike Lifka of South Elgin, during the Tuna Kahuna fishing derby last year in South Elgin. Both South Elgin and Batavia are holding fishing derbies this weekend.
    Daily Herald File Photo

  • Andrew Hauser of South Elgin helps his 5-year-old son, Matthew Roy, cast a line during South Elgin's Tuna Kahuna fishing derby last year.

    Andrew Hauser of South Elgin helps his 5-year-old son, Matthew Roy, cast a line during South Elgin's Tuna Kahuna fishing derby last year.
    Daily Herald File Photo

 
By Jamie Greco
Daily Herald correspondent

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.

"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."

Get articles sent to your inbox.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.