Jacksonville, AL –It was a day of excitement, camaraderie, and plenty of fish at the recent Jacksonville Youth Fishing Rodeo, held at the Public Safety Complex this past Saturday. Organized by the City of Jacksonville Police Department in collaboration with the Alabama Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries-Law Enforcement Section and with support from the Jacksonville City Council, this free fishing event was a big hit with the young anglers of the community.
The highlight of the event was the generous donation by the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association, who gifted a lifetime Fishing License to one fortunate youth. There were many other prizes given out; however, the ultimate goal was for each child to leave with a fishing pole, ensuring they can continue to enjoy outdoor activities and bonding with nature.
The event featured two fishing groups, with a total of 150 spots available, all of which were eagerly filled by the start of the event. To keep the young participants and their families energized, a complimentary lunch was provided, consisting of hot dogs, chips, and refreshing drinks.
Chief Marcus Wood, from the Jacksonville Police Department, expressed the importance of creating a stronger partnership with the community through such events. He emphasized the desire to bring families and children together, allowing them to fish while mingling with police officers, members of the Alabama Game and Fish, the fire department, and other city departments. The primary goal was to teach the youth how to fish and, most importantly, to have a good time.
Chief Wood extended his gratitude to all the sponsors, including Alabama Game and Fish, Walmart, the Jacksonville Merchants Association, as well as the city and council for their unwavering support.
Mayor Johnny Smith commended the dedicated volunteers who worked tirelessly to organize the event, with special recognition for the Jacksonville Police Department for their passion and commitment, which contributed to the event’s resounding success.
Councilmember Coty Galloway expressed satisfaction with the turnout for the first session and eagerly anticipated the start of the second session, emphasizing the positive energy and enthusiasm of the attendees.
Councilmember Tony Taylor shared a heartwarming update, revealing that 1,500 pounds of catfish had been added to the lake just days before the event, in addition to the tilapia, bass, and grass carp already present. Both Councilman Taylor and Mayor Smith reminded everyone that the lake is open to the public year-round. They requested that all visitors adhere to the posted rules, particularly emphasizing the catch and release policy to preserve the fish population.
Councilman Taylor also acknowledged Assistant Police Chief Jason Oden for championing the event and praised the collaborative effort that made it a resounding success. The Jacksonville Youth Fishing Rodeo brought the community together, fostering positive connections and creating lasting memories for the young anglers of Jacksonville.