About 20 kids, families cast lines into South Fork Resort

A fish grabbed the bait on his hook, and a 5-year-old boy jerked his rod quickly, losing the fish before the hook could be set. His pole came quickly back, sending everyone in his family scrambling for cover from his hook, which was dangling all directions.

He went to Mom, crying, as she and Dad were coaching him on how to set his hook.

“But I wanted to catch him,” the boy said. After a quick bout of pouting, he cast his rod and started to fish again.

The 5-year-old was among 20 youngsters who competed in the Crappie Masters Youth Tournament at the South Fork Resort on Missouri Highway 154 on Saturday.

As for scoring, it was loose. No weigh-ins, and having fish take the wait was considered a catch, even if the fish got away.

Jim Shrock of El Paso, Ill., was helping his children, Moriah, 10, and Micah, 6, as they hooked what felt like a big fish, but as they reeled in their line, it was a pesky turtle that had been feasting on bait worms from others all morning.

Shrock carefully handled the turtle, taking him to the other side of the pond and gently placed him back in the water.

“You can have him for a while,” he said cheerfully to a family member.

Shrock said that tournament is a good way to get his children involved in the sport.

“They have a good time,” he said.

Josh and Julie Mottert of New Melle, which is located just south of Wentzville in St. Charles County, had all four of their children casting lines into the pond.

The Mottert family visits the Mark Twain area several times each summer, and in addition to boating and water skiing, the couple want their children to appreciate the art of catching fish.

As she was calming her youngest son, Clayton, Julie Mottert said: “The nice thing about fishing is that it helps teach him patience – and maybe helps teach us, too.”

The 90-minute tournament ended at 10:30 a.m., and each child received a token for participating.