Ocala’s Tuscawilla Park was full of laughter, love and a lot of worms on Monday as senior citizens came together in a friendly competition to see who could reel in the largest fish during the Senior Fishing Derby.
Ocala hosts the derby twice a year in the spring and the fall for seniors aged 50 years and up. The event is only a few years old, but has steadily grown and is free to all participants. Organizers provide cane poles, bait and lunch for the senior anglers.
Trophies were awarded to the largest catch, as well as the most senior fisherman.
Participants also had the opportunity to win prizes through a raffle. Tickets were given for every catch and prizes included gift cards, gift baskets and fishing rods in youth and adult sizes.
Lynn and James Feldman, snowbirds from Indiana, have been making the journey to Ocala for the past eight years. This is their fourth year taking part in the derby.
“We’ve come every year for four years now,” Lynn Feldman said. “We really enjoy the fresh air.”
While many seniors choose to come on their own, a large number of participants were from nursing homes and assisted living facilities.