You have a number of great suggestions in this thread. From personal experience the photo of each kid with a fish is really well received. The derbies I helped with had local fishing retail sponsors donate an inexpensive outfits and bait for all the participants and the State stocked and closed the pond specifically for the derby. In these derbies every kid won and it was very egalitarian because some of the kids needed extra help due to their disabilites. One adult for each kid also seemed to be key and that meant lots of parents and lots of sponsors to make sure everyone was kept safe, was successful, and had a good time. Individual tackle boxes with snacks, sunscreen, toys, cheap sun glasses, bobbers, and no hooks were also essential. From past experience giving young kids lose hooks or lures with hooks is not a good idea. Keep the hooks on the end of the line and at the end of a pole with lots of supervision. Have the adults unhook the fish and make a big deal out of each and every catch. Everybody won in these tournaments even if they needed a little extra help. Besides being one of the sponsors and helping the participants one of my jobs was to pre-chum the fishing areas with wax worms, maggots, and regular worms. That way the fish were primed and ready to bite just as the tournament started. It is a truly rewarding experience for the kids, the parents, and sponsors. We did catch and release and talked about protecting the resource for the future. Some of the kids with dissabilities described it as the best experience they had ever had. We did this event for a number of years and many kids brought their photos from the previous year's derby to share with their fellow participants. Each photo was marked with the participant's name and the time and date of the catch.
Edited by Jay Blair - 2/12/13 at 5:34pm