Perrysburg schools superintendent Tom Hosler, left, and Perrysburg Junior High student Ray Cox, 14, head for the banks of the Maumee River during Saturday’s third annual Perrysburg-Maumee fishing tournament at Side Cut Metropark in Maumee. THE BLADE/LORI
Jared Birt anxiously waited as the last two-man team returned to measure fish caught Saturday during the third annual Perrysburg-Maumee Fishing Tournament.
The Maumee High School sophomore, who had a win in the first tournament between the two school districts in 2012, came back this year with a walleye that measured 23 inches.
Only Perrysburg High School seniors Rocco Caywood and Anderson Martin stood in his way of another win.
Rocco walked up with three large walleye, but the largest fell an inch short of Jared’s largest catch.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here for more photos from the tournament
But Perrysburg, which had about a dozen students fishing, won the tournament.
Jared was one of four Maumee students who participated.
The tournament began three years ago following suggestions from Perrysburg Schools Superintendent Tom Hosler and Brett Queen, a Perrysburg Junior High custodian.
The two wanted to help connect students to the Maumee River and help them better appreciate the sport of fishing.
“The river is an important part of our community,” Mr. Hosler said. “We want to introduce them to how important the river is and how they can make it part of their lives and respect nature and fish.”
The group meets at Side Cut Metropark.
Most of the participants fished from the Blue Grass Island in the middle of the river. High winds made fishing a greater challenge.
“It was fun out there,” Ray Cox, a student at Perrysburg Junior High School, said, though he didn’t have much luck — not even with a new pole his mother, Stephanie Cox, got for him to replace one that broke.
Seventh-graders Evan Rantanen and Aidan Merrick weren’t having much luck along the shoreline. With about a half-hour left, they went looking for a different spot.
The Caywood and Martin youths did their fishing at Buttonwood/Betty C. Black Recreation Area.
“It was really windy,” Anderson Martin said. “It [the wind] was pulling the line and moving the current.”
One fish he caught exceeded 20 inches, though the teen said it felt smaller when he was reeling it in.