JACKSON TWP.  As most avid fishermen and women or kids and teens know, keeping an eye on the weather is an important part of the sport. The weather forecast for this year’s Jackson Parks’ Fishing Derby was cold temps, rain and possible snow flurries. That weather report, however, didn’t discourage the 75 plus kids and teens and their families from fishing this past Saturday.

The fish didn’t seem to mind the weather either because they were biting. The largest two fish caught by mid-morning were a 15- and an 11.5-inch bass.

The annual derby is for teens and kids aged 15 years old and under. Families were gathered around the pond in Jackson’s North Park starting early in the morning and continued to cast their lines until 11 a.m.

Sponsors this year included the Jackson Township, Jackson Township Police Department, Gander Mountain, Fin Feather Fur Outfitters, Kames Sports, We’re all Downstream and Berkley Fishing Team.

Jim Adkins from the Berkley Fishing Team said, "We hold 10 or 11 derbies locally every year from April through October."

"Fishing is becoming a lost family event and we want to promote it to families. It’s nice to get the kids outside and spend the day with their family," he added.

Andy Speight, Jackson Township Patrol Officer and coordinator of the Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs program, said his group comes out every year to assist with the derby and encourage kids to spend time with their families.

The pond gets stocked, especially for the event, with bass, bluegill, perch, trout and catfish. The kids were even more determined this year because of the weather and stayed through to the last minutes of the derby. And, those normally shy fish continued to bite despite the rain.