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Kids reel in fish, fun at Big Cypress tournament

Take A Kid Fishing02BIG CYPRESS — From boats or banks, 11 adults and 22 youngsters hoped the big one wouldn’t get away June 27 during the Take a Kid Fishing Tournament along the Big Cypress canals.

“We catch a lot of fish together,” said Zechariah Stockton, 7. “It’s fun because we’re together as a family. We usually fish for the big ones.”

The Stockton family – dad, Kassim; and children, Zechariah and Michael, 9 – snatched first place with 15.3 pounds of bass, including the largest in the tournament weighing 6.7 pounds.

They also caught the biggest tilapia at 2.9 pounds.

The family fished on the Miami Canal but caught most of their fish at the spillway. They fish together regularly but rarely keep their catches.

“We release them so we can catch them again,” Kassim Stockton said.

The Recreation Department-sponsored tournament started bright and early at 8 a.m. Weigh-in was 1 p.m. at Moses Jumper Jr.’s dock.

Valholly Frank and Harmony Cypress joined Big Cypress Board Rep. Joe Frank on his boat to traverse the canals in search of fish.

They brought back 10.2 pounds of fish and the second largest bass of the day weighing 3.1 pounds.

“At first we didn’t get any fish,” said Valholly, 12. “We were too impatient. It was hard for energetic, young girls.”

New fishing poles were awarded to youth for most weight on five fish, biggest bass and biggest critters (tilapia, speck, brim, garfish, catfish and mud).

All youth competitors received new lures and hats.


Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at