Teach a Kid to Fish at Captree’s Annual Snapper Derby

Ready your rods for the Snapper Derby at Captree State Park!

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Calling all pint-size aspiring anglers, the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, along with Captree Fuel, Bait and Tackle, is hosting its annual Snapper Derby Fishing Tournament on Saturday, August 15, and Sunday, August 16, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Captree State Park. This time-honored family outing is a superb opportunity to teach would-be fisherkids some fishing techniques: hooking bait, casting, unhooking and releasing a fish and most importantly, patience.

For all intents and purposes, a snapper is a baby bluefish, usually between four and six months old and roughly under 12 inches in length. If you have ever gone fishing for blues, you know how much fun it is to wrestle one in, and snapper fishing provides just the right amount of fun for kids. It really doesn’t matter how old the angler is, snagging a snapper is exhilarating.

Don’t have your own equipment? No worries as Captree Fuel, Bait and Tackle has you covered. “Entrants can rent or purchase rods from us that day. We will be running specials all weekend,” says owner Brenden Rutigliano. Are there prizes? “You bet there are prizes,” he adds. “We have a cool trophy for the winner of each day’s tournament, plus merchandise prizes for the first- through third-place winners in each age group: fishing rods, tackle boxes and hats.” These prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third heaviest fish in each age group (7 years and younger; 8 to 12 years old and 13 to 16 years old) each day. The fish will be weighed as they are caught and (ideally) released immediately. The last weigh-in will be at 4 p.m. The winners for each day will be announced at a ceremony, on both Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 4:30 p.m. (Note: Winners must be present to claim their prize.)

There is no fee to enter the derby, however the $8 vehicle-use fee at Captree will be in effect. Food will be available at Captree’s concession stand and at Captree Cove Restaurant.

If ever there was a moment to teach a kid to fish and you feed him (or her) for a lifetime, this derby is it.

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Betsy Davidson is the editor at large of Edible Long Island.