Dara and Dacy Denton took the top two positions in the annual Children’s Fishing Derby during Oceanside Harbor Days.
The September 19 contest for children 13 and under was based on the largest catch during the three-and-a-half-hour fishing period.
Dara, 6, caught a 22-ounce shark and Dacy, 4, caught a 16-ounce stingray during their third derby appearance.
Approximately 30 children participated in the derby at Oceanside Harbor’s small pier.
“We had to change strategies,” said the girls’ father, Scott Denton. “Nothing was really biting, so I decided to fish on the bottom.”
Fishing deep in the water paid off for the Fallbrook sisters. Dara caught a 10-ounce rockfish to put her in the lead and Dacy then caught the stingray to take over.
The shark then tugged on Dara’s reel and she pulled the fish out of the water. “It came out of the water and somebody said, ‘It’s a shark!’” Scott said. “She ran.”
Scott had to concoct a variant of a fishing whopper to calm down his daughter. “I had to tell her it didn’t have teeth, ’cause she was scared of it,” he said.
The shark, in fact, had teeth, although it didn’t stay out of the water long enough for Dara to see. The participants and their families had the option of keeping the fish caught or returning them to the water.
“We threw ’em back,” Scott said. “I didn’t want to have the fish in the back of my truck, so we threw ’em back.”
The rockfish, the stingray and the shark were the only three creatures caught by the Denton girls during the Children’s Fishing Derby.
In addition to trophies, both received new fishing poles and gift certificates for dining.
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