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Planning and Organizing a Fishing Derby

Filed Under:
Publication Number: P3770
View as PDF: P3770.pdf

The key to a successful fishing derby is planning and preparing. This information sheet provides direction to make your event a success.

Start 1 year ahead by forming a planning committee. This relatively small committee consists of key people responsible for each of the major parts of the derby: site, facilities, scheduling, publicity and promotion, finding sponsors, contributions, personnel (volunteers, officials), supplies and printing, and event operation (schedule for the day, rules, awards, and such). Each of these people may develop a subcommittee. Committee members may already be part of your youth sportfishing team, but don’t overlook the opportunity to involve other volunteers and leaders in the community for this special event.

Here is a useful schedule to ensure your event runs smoothly:

General Planning Schedule for a Fishing Derby

Six months before the event

Select a coordinator or coordination committee to do the following:

  • Determine the size of the event.
  • Set the date and integrate with other concurrent events.
  • Find cooperators and co-sponsors.
  • If fishing tackle will be provided, contact manufacturers.
  • Identify guests.
  • Select the site.
  • Determine the promotion and advertising program.
  • Send invitations to dignitaries (as soon as date, cooperators, and site are confirmed).
  • Put the date on public event calendars.
  • Schedule the date with all vendors or contributors (for example, soft drinks, food, bait vendors).

Twelve weeks before the event

  • Design and print posters or fliers.
  • Arrange for appropriate physical facilities (such as portable restrooms, tables and chairs, signs, parking, trash cans, and the like).
  • Arrange for optional materials (such as T-shirts, caps, participation prizes).

Eight weeks before the event

  • Arrange for poster and flier distribution.

Four weeks before the event

  • Confirm all previous arrangements.
  • Put up posters.
  • Send public service announcements to the media (newspaper, radio, television; ask that they be run 2 weeks before the event).
  • Invite media to attend and cover the event.
  • Notify volunteer officials of the time and place of orientation sessions.

Two weeks before the event

  • Confirm all previous arrangements.
  • Distribute fliers.
  • Pick up contributed materials.
  • Remind volunteer officials of the time and place of orientation sessions.

One week before the event

  • Hold two orientation sessions for volunteer officials.

For More Information

Additional information about planning and conducting fishing derbies is available in the Extension fishing derby series of publications:

P3769 What Is a Fishing Derby?

P3666 Selecting a Site for a Fishing Derby

P3771 Facilities Required for a Fishing Derby

P3772 Publicizing and Promoting a Fishing Derby

P3773 A Basis for Competition in Fishing Derbies

P2219 Operations and Procedures for a Fishing Derby

Publication 3770 (POD-07-21)

Distributed by Wes Neal, PhD, Extension/Research Professor, Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture. Written by Harold L. Schramm Jr., PhD, Mississippi Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Stephen A. Flickinger, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Fishery and Wildlife Biology, Colorado State University; and Martin W. Brunson, PhD, Extension Professor (retired), Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture.

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Portrait of Dr. Wes Neal
Extension/Research Professor
Fisheries Extension