ACES: 4-H BIGGEST Catch contest featuring new categories for 2024

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(Alabama Cooperative Extension Office)

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. — The Alabama 4-H BIGGEST Catch contest is back for another year with some new competition categories. Emily Nichols, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System 4-H natural resources specialist, said she is excited to add new components to this year’s competition.

“This is our fifth year to offer this contest, and there is more that we want youth and their families to discover,” Nichols said. “I’m thrilled to incorporate new categories that encourage young people to explore as many public water bodies as possible and gain exposure and familiarity with as many different fish as possible. I want people to get to know the special aquatic resources that we have in our state.”

This fishing and fish art competition is May 24 through June 3. All Alabama youth ages 9 to 18 are invited to participate. There is no prior 4-H experience required to join in on the fun.

Contest categories

Unlike traditional fishing competitions, the 4-H BIGGEST Catch is completely virtual. This year, there are four main categories: Biggest Catch, Biggest Variety of Fish Species, Biggest Variety of Public Water and Biggest Fish Art.

In the Biggest Catch category, the name says it all. The goal is to reel in the biggest fish in one or more fish categories. These include bass, sunfish (bream), catfish and crappie.

In the Biggest Variety of Fish Species competition, size is not the objective. Participants are out to catch as many different species of bass, catfish, crappie and sunfish (bream) as they can.

One of the new categories this year is the Biggest Variety of Public Water. This encourages participants to catch a fish in as many public water bodies as possible. This new addition pushes youth to experience the wonderful fishing resources in their area and beyond.

“Because this contest allows kids to choose where they go fishing, it is a great opportunity to explore fishing across the state,” Nichols said. “Whether that is in state-managed public fishing lakes, state parks, rivers or creeks, this part of the contest helps kids learn more about different bodies of water.”

The Biggest Fish Art is another new category, which encourages youth to let their inner artist shine. Whether it is through drawing, sketching or painting, the goal is to portray a bass, catfish, crappie or sunfish (bream) species that is listed on the 4-H BIGGEST Catch web page.

Fishing contest rules

To enter the three fishing categories, participants must catch a fish in Alabama waters between May 24 and June 3. To be eligible, contestants must catch and land their fish without any help. After making the catch, contestants must include a photograph of the fish along with the submission.

“The photograph must include the kid and their fish, the contest code AL4H24 and the total length (inches) of the fish,” Nichols said. “Participants can write this information on a piece of paper and hold it up in the photograph or they can write it on their hand.”

Submit contest entries online at aub.ie/4HBiggestCatch24. This portal opens May 24 at 8 a.m. and closes June 3 at 8 p.m.

Fish art contest rules

Participants in the fish art contest must also submit entries between May 24 at 8 a.m. and June 3 at 8 p.m. Each entry must include a picture of the youth’s drawing, sketch or painting. This artwork must be done without the help of others.

“For this contest, we want the kids to portray one of the fish species that is listed under our official contest categories, which are bass, catfish, crappie and sunfish (bream),” Nichols said. “We can’t wait to see the beautiful artwork that the participants come up with this year.”

There is a separate online submission link for the fish art contest. Submit contest entries at aub.ie/4HBiggestCatchArt.

More information

The 4-H BIGGEST Catch fishing contest is a great chance for young people to make awesome memories and have fun. A complete list of contest rules and more information is available on the 4-H BIGGEST Catch web page at www.aces.edu. Also, join in on the fun through the contest’s event on the Alabama 4-H Outdoors Facebook page.