Police officer Chris DiGiovanni said the kids around Key Colony Beach and Marathon wouldn’t let him give up annual fishing derby even if he wanted to.

“They always ask me, ‘Are we going fishing this year?’” he laughed.

Six years ago, his brother organized a similar event in Islamorada. With the help of his chief and Capt. Bill “Wild Willy” Samsel, they began a tradition that aims to help youngsters see police officers in a positive light.

“All they have to bring is a fishing pole and a life jacket, so it also helps kids who might not otherwise be able to afford it the opportunity to get out on the boat,” DiGiovanni noted.

Though participation this year was down about 20 anglers from last year, 35 kids and a heap of proud parents filled Key Colony Inn for the awards ceremony following the morning of fishing aboard The Sea King with Capt. Bill Hauck.

“For six years, Capt. Bill has generously donated his time, and without the cities and our sponsors, this event wouldn’t be possible,” DiGiovanni noted.

In the 6-8 year old division, Sean Hale was the champion angler followed by Connor Angerman in second place and Damon Dyer in third.

Nicholas West was the top angler in the 9-11 year old division with young ladies Taylor Poole and Brittany Cobbs taking second and third place, respectively.

Amongst the 12-14 year old anglers, Corlyle Roberts landed the winning fish with Steven Poole taking second place and Logan Fearon placing third.

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