Bread, worms, fish? Or corn, crackers, stale donuts?
Eight-year-old Tianna Vasquez-Bilon of the sixth Kids’ Freshwater Fishing Derby caught her 186mm tilapia with a proven fish favorite or, perhaps, a less traditional winning bait combo this past Sunday.
In competition with 35 other youth, she was one child of many who contributed to the total derby catch of 69 tilapia, sleepers, and shrimp.
Thomas Detry (10) came in second with a 173mm macheng (sleeper) while Tylor Vasquez-Bilon (10) came in third with a 160mm tilapia.
Other freshwater species living in the Masso Reservoir include umatang (flagtail) and asuli (eel). Early risers could be lucky to hear a pulattat (Marianas moorhen), which has also been known to nest in the area.
Learning about Masso
The derby, using a fishing platform built six years ago, offers youth an opportunity to fish in a safe environment. The Department of Agriculture (Ag) spearheads the annual event to encourage recreational fishing while UOG Cooperative Extension & Outreach coordinated activities to teach people about the area’s natural resources.
Volunteer John Jocson manned a table where he helped participants make simple hook-and-line sets of ahgao (false elder) branches. Returning this year with his antique lures and fishing gear display, volunteer Yohei Harada also taught knot-tying. Using ti leaves and kalachucha’ (plumeria), volunteer Moñeka De Oro taught people how to weave mwarmwar, or garlands.
A scavenger hunt coordinated by Ag’s Forestry Division, the Southern Guam Soil & Water Conservation District, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Conservation Program challenged attendees to find mango leaves, joga seeds, flowers, and evidence of animal damage throughout the park.
Ag’s Biosecurity Division also set up two microscopes so that children could look at little fire ants, a relatively new invasive species.
And if the occasional rain wasn’t enough in the derby’s few hours, Forestry staff lightly hosed kids with their fire truck sprays or 5-gallon water bladder bags. This essential equipment has helped suppress recent human-caused wildfires around the Nimitz Hill area, which borders the Masso park.
Since 1978, the Department of Agriculture has planted more than 14,000 trees in the Masso area to decrease erosion and help restore the Asan-Piti watershed. Wildfires, all of which on Guam are started by humans, threaten the decades-long restoration effort.
All activities, part of larger island-wide Earth Month events, helped participants to understand Guam’s environment and ways to protect it.
Tianna Vasquez-Bilon (8) – 186mm tilapia
Thomas Detry (10) – 173mm sleeper
Tylor Vasquez-Bilon (10) – 160mm tilapia
Isabelle Sunga (13) – 150mm tilapia
Jacob Soderquist (8) – 137mm tilapia
Mike Halmi, Jr. (15) – 137mm tilapia
The top four winners received rod and reel sets with a tackle box. Fifth and sixth place winners received outdoor camping stools.
For information about upcoming saltwater derbies at Asan in June and July, contact Marie Auyong at 735-2143 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Brent Tibbatts at 735-0289 / 0281 / 0294 (email@example.com).