By Tech. Sgt. Terri Paden, 15th Wing Public Affairs
The 15th Annual Friends of Hickam Keiki Fishing Tournament took place June 4 at the Ho`omaluhia Botanical Gardens in Kaneohe.
During the annual event, more than 120 members of Team Hickam and their children competed against one another to take home the coveted first place trophies for the most fish caught and largest fish.
“We do this for the Airmen,” Wayne Iseri, Friends of Hickam president, said of the event. “This is a great opportunity to promote the beauty of Hawaii and family.”
The half-day event opened with remarks from Col. Johnny Roscoe, 15th Wing commander, who thanked the Friends of Hickam for sponsoring the free event for Airmen.
“Today is about our keiki, our kids, and I’m so glad to see so many active-duty parents here with them,” he said. “Our kids support us so much and they need to know we have their backs too.”
It wasn’t long after the opening remarks before fish of all shapes and sizes were pulled out of the water. The children fished for one hour to see who could reel in the most small mouth bass, catfish, red devil fish and tilapia with their bamboo poles. The fish were then measured and released back into the water.
Though most every child caught a fish, it wasn’t long before amateur fisher De Antony Moore, 8, bested his fellow fisherman by reeling in a 341/2 inch catfish, the biggest catch of the day.
“This is great … this is awesome,” he said after having his fish measured. “I didn’t expect to catch such a big fish. It was so huge I was surprised.”
Having only caught one small fish prior to his winning catch, Moore had begun to get discouraged, but continued to fish anyway.
“It took so long to catch a fish. I was just standing there and finally this [the fish] came out,” he said. “This is my favorite part of the day so far, but I am having a lot of fun fishing with my dad.”
Though every child was declared a winner and given a prize before day’s end, brother and sister Cody and Kalia Dela Cruz proved they had what it takes to be the best-of-the-best by each catching 26 fish.
The day was full of victory for the keiki, but it also had winning moments for the parents in attendance.
“We enjoy fishing; it’s something we do in our down time,” said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Robles, 96th Airlift Squadron boom operator. “To have the opportunity to participate in a tournament just makes it that much more fun. The best part of this day was definitely watching my son catch fish. It was great to see the expression on his face when he hooked one on his line, reeled it in, and had it measured. We’ll definitely participate in this next year.”