Traesyn Carroll is a pretty darn good fisherman for a 4-year-old.
He spent all day Saturday, July 21 with his dad Josh, fishing off the coast of Carrabelle, and then around Dog Island.
He landed a 2.7-pound Spanish mackerel that took the top prize in that category, plus he got a $25 cash prize for the biggest fish, a drum, that was brought in during the C-Quarters Youth Fishing Tournament, even though there wasn’t a category for it.
Krissa Litton caught the biggest fish in the many categories featured in the 14th annual tourney, a five-pound catfish.
Tourney organizer Mary Lawhon said 266 kids registered for the tournament, a nice-sized crowd.
“I’m the captain, he’s my mate,” said Josh Carroll, clearly pleased at young son’s success. “I’ve got him going. By the time he’s 15, he’ll be ready to run his own boat.
“I give him a pole and he rigs it. He does everything,” said his dad, who is grandson of the late Bill Miller, and proud of the lessons left him by Mr. Bill. “He spent two hours last night tying knots with me. I’m just showing him step-by-step, slowly.”
This year the father and son worked a couple docks, trolled for bait, picked up some ladyfish, Spanish mackerel and bluefish, and then worked the middle of the cut, where they got grouper, rock bass and flounder, everything but pinfish and trout and in and about Dog Island.
“He reels it up, he gets the fish, he de-hooks him,” said Josh Carroll. “He takes the rods, he puts them in the holders, he makes sure the tackle box is closed.
“He’s not cutting bait yet,” he said.
“That’s fine with mama,” chimed in Linzy Ratliff, Traesyn’s mother. “A knife around my baby? No sir.”
Josh Carroll did note that his son is learning to cut the line with a knife.
Last year Traesyn landed a speckled trout at the C-Quarter’s tourney, and in June, he took second place in redfish.
“He remembers spots,” marveled his grandmother, Diane Swisher. “He remembers where he caught things. He said during snapper season that he wanted to go offshore.”
Steve Morris served as weighmaster, along with Jim Lawhon, Mary’s son, from Franklinton, Louisiana. Nancy Morris was scribe, and Susan Pinson, from Melrose, was sergeant major, making sure the kids, and their parents, behaved themselves.
And of course Jimmy Crowder was out there, helping present the trophies, proud of the tourney he’s nourished and grown for 14 years.