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By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

Denton wins children's fishing derby


Last updated 9/28/2018 at 6:42pm

Dacy Denton poses with one of her catch.

Dacy Denton won the Sept. 15 children's fishing derby which is part of Oceanside Harbor Days.

The lifelong Fallbrook resident, who is now 13 and in eighth grade at Sullivan Middle School, won the children's fishing derby for the fourth time. Because the children's fishing derby is for children 13 and under, the event was also her last as a competitor.

"I definitely went out with a bang," Denton said.

First place is based on the largest catch, and if a tiebreaker for second place is necessary total weight determines the positions. Denton actually had the largest two catches of the day, adding a 5-ounce mackerel to the 6-ounce rockfish which gave her first place.

"I think my last year was my best," Denton said.

Four of the 17 children who participated in the fishing derby caught at least one fish, including one other competitor who caught two fish and whose 1-ounce fish broke a tie with another angler who also had a 3-ounce catch.

The children's fishing derby began at 8:30 a.m. and ended at noon. The contestants were supplied with poles and with bait; Denton used squid as bait. Parents are allowed to accompany their children and provide advice, although the children themselves must reel and catch the fish.

Scott Denton committed to a charity motorcycle ride before learning that the children's fishing derby was also that day, so he did not join his daughter for the first time since Dacy Denton and her sister began competing in the children's fishing derby in 2009. Debi Denton accompanied her younger daughter to the fishing derby. Dara Denton, who is now 15 and a sophomore at Fallbrook High School, was not present.

Although her father was not present, Dacy Denton had learned from him to spit on the bait – a technique he learned while growing up in Louisiana – and utilized that tactic during the competition.

The children's fishing derby was also the first ever without founder Joe Perllin, who is now 96 years old and in a nursing home. Jorge Alonso is the current organizer of the fishing derby.

Approximately 20 minutes after the fishing derby began Denton caught the rockfish.

"I felt a tug, and I waited for him to grab at it," Denton said. "He put up a little bit of a fight."

Even after Denton caught the rockfish, it was reluctant to stay on the scale.

"We finally got it on," she said.

The rockfish was returned to the ocean. Denton caught the mackerel midway through the fishing derby, but that fish died when it was hooked.

Denton had also caught a mackerel in 2017.

"That one died, too," she said.

Denton received a plaque for first place and also received a fishing pole, as did the other children who participated.

Denton won the children's fishing derby with an 8-ounce spotfin in 2013, a 7-ounce mackerel in 2014, and a 6-ounce kelp bass in 2015. She placed fourth in the 2016 children's fishing derby by catching a sea bass which weighed less than an ounce. In 2017 she placed second by catching 10 fish totaling 41 ounces, including a 6-ounce sea bass and a 5-ounce rockfish.

Fishing derby organizer Jorge Alonso presents Dacy Denton with her first place award.

Dara Denton won the 2009 children's fishing derby by catching a 22-ounce shark and Dacy Denton placed second with a 16-ounce stingray. Neither sister caught a fish in 2010. Dacy Denton placed third in 2011, and in 2012 she did not catch a fish although she hooked a pelican which went after her bait.

A 5-ounce mackerel placed Dara Denton second, behind her sister, in 2014. Dara Denton also concluded her children's fishing derby competitive career with first place; as a 13-year-old in 2016 she caught a 12-ounce striped croaker.

Dacy Denton will turn 14 in November and will be too old to compete in next year's children's fishing derby, but she plans to remain active in the event.

"I hope that I can help out next year with little kids," she said. "I hope they can have a great experience just like I did."


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