Finns in search of fins

Annual costume and fishing contest brings communities together to enjoy Twain's character.

August 18, 2010|By Britney Barnes,
(Kent Treptow | )

The Huntington Beach Pier traveled back in time Saturday morning to Missouri of the mid-1800s, the Midwest that Mark Twain immortalized in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

About a dozen boys stood around in overalls, plaid shirts and straw hats looking like they just finished playing along the shores of the Mississippi for the 47th annual Huck Finn Fishing Derby.

Among the barefooted boys, two girls dressed as the protagonist, forgoing Becky Thatcher's flower-print dresses for Huck's blue jeans.

In her overalls and straw hat, 5-year-old Kristabella Hanson competed against the boys in the Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher costume contest.

The Huntington Beach resident was one of more than 200 kids younger than 15 who came out for the free event from around Orange County, said Dottie Hughes, city recreation supervisor.

"We want to provide a fun recreational experience in Huntington, not only for people in the community, but in surrounding communities," she said.


The turnout was a little smaller than last year's, but the kids caught a lot of fish, she said.

The event is a competition for who can catch the biggest fish in less than three hours, but Hughes said everyone walks away with some kind of prize.

The derby is also an educational experience, she said. The Department of Fish and Game, United Anglers of Southern California and volunteers explain how to bait a hook and cast, and teach the rules of fishing. Fish and Game also lends out fishing poles for free and provides bait, Hughes said.

Kristabella's mother, Shari Vigil, brought her daughter out to the event for the first time. Kristabella, she said, loves to fish.

"Even though the sun's not out, we're here and still having fun and fishing," Vigil said.

The two didn't have any luck on the overcast Saturday morning except with seaweed, but Kristabella said she almost got one.

"I caught a big fish, but it swam off," she said.

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