Free Fishing Derby
Inside the Outdoors, May 19,

Attention all anglers who enjoy a tasty fish dinner! A free fishing derby will be held on Sunday, May 21, 2017, at Northmoreland Park from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Westmoreland County Bureau of Parks and Recreation, the Westmoreland County Sportsman’s League, and Dick’s Sporting Goods are sponsoring this event.

First and second place trophies and gift certificates will be awarded for the longest trout, carp and other fish of legal size in both the adult and youth divisions. A trophy and a certificate will be awarded for the ‘Best Catch of the Day’ in both youth and adult categories. Adults age 16 and older must display a valid 2017 Pennsylvania Fishing License.

Registration is free and begins at 7:30 a.m. on the lakeside deck outside the Activity Center. There will be a door prize drawing following the derby for all registered participants. All contestants must be registered by 12:00 noon to be eligible for prizes from Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Northmoreland Park is located in Apollo, PA, and is accessible via 356 from Routes 56 and 66. For more information, please call the Westmoreland County Bureau of Parks and Recreation at 724.830.3950 or visit


I may be one of hundreds if not more that have always harbored a myth in the back of my mind, but just believing it but never doing any research to prove it otherwise. But guess what?

From the website,, came this bit of information. “Catfish don’t sting.” That is the whole reason I never did any stories on catfish to begin with. I didn’t want to put youth in harm’s way.

However, I must state, it all depends on how one holds the fish.

For the purposes of how to catch and handle a catfish, one must be knowledgeable as to the anatomy of this creature.

There is “the dorsal fin on top of the fish, pectoral fins each side behind the head, and the whiskers around the mouth.”

Here is a very important point to remember. “Catfish whiskers are harmless.”

Where the fish got the reputation of being one that stings is that when one’s fingers or hands come in contact with the dorsal or pectoral fins. “The fins are soft if approached from the back, but there’s a hard spine that runs the length of the fin in the front. The tips of these spines are pointed and very sharp. Injury and pain occur when these spines puncture the skin. The spines contain a venom that causes swelling and increased blood flow in the area of the injury.”

To hold a catfish, place one’s hand directly behind the pectoral and dorsal spines with the area between the thumb and the forefinger resting behind the dorsal spine. Hold the fish firmly.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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To buy one of my books, With Me Always or Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-1951.