The McDuffie State Ponds held a free Kids Fishing Day Saturday at the McDuffie Fish Hatchery and Public Fishing Ponds.
"This is an event we hold three times a year when kids 15 and under can come and fish for free," said Greg Abercromby, wildlife technician and hatchery assistant manager. "We stock the ponds heavily with catfish, and the kids fish for free and get to keep up to five fish. We do this to help get kids out of the house and out fishing."
The event is held in April, June and September.
"The one in September tends to be our biggest of the year," Abercromby said. "We'll have a representative of game management here with an airgun and archery for the kids to try out as well."
To beat the heat, the event was held from 8 a.m. to noon, with a sizable turnout.
"We've had more people show up than we expected," Abercromby said. "We've already had over a 130 kids show up, and it's only 10:30 now."
For many of the kids, this was their first visit to the ponds.
"Today was my first time, but I'll be back next time for sure," said Brandon Sawyer, 4, as he showed off a 2-pound catfish he'd just caught. "It might be a 2-pounder," he said, "but it feels like a 7-pounder."
Nine-year-old Elijah Rupert was there with his younger brother, Oliver.
"We're having a lot of fun," Elijah said. "This is our second time, and we'll be back again."
It was also the second visit to the event for Holly Reeves, 10. "We're fishing this morning, and then going to the lake this afternoon, so I'm having a lot of fun," she said.
Deonte Bethume, 9, was making his first visit to the ponds. "I like fishing, I'm just kind of scared of the fish," he said, as he pulled his third catch of the day from the water. Scared or not, he seemed to appreciate the fish on a higher level. Holding his catch up to show it off, he said, "This is what I'm having for dinner!"
The next free Kids Fishing Day at the State Ponds is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24.