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story.lead_photo.caption Langston Rudley, 12, of Little Rock. - Photo by Jaime Dunaway

About 500 youths from central Arkansas competed for prizes Thursday at the 33rd annual fishing derby in Little Rock.

The derby, sponsored by the city of Little Rock's Parks and Recreation Department and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, is the largest cane-pole fishing event in the state, according to a Monday news release from Parks and Recreation.

No rods and reels were allowed as the kids tried to catch 100 tagged fish from the McArthur Park pond, said Sedric Mayfield, assistant recreation supervisor for the department.

The first boy and girl to catch a tagged fish each won a bike, and the other winners got to choose from an array of prizes, including fishing rods, basketballs, soccer balls, skateboards and Frisbees.

Langston Rudley was the first boy to catch a prize fish — a blue catfish he said he planned on frying and eating at home.

Gallery: 33rd Annual Little Rock Fishing Derby

"This is the first time I've won," he said. "I lost two before I caught this one. They dragged my poles into the water while I was helping other people, but I've got a secret spot."

The 12-year-old from Little Rock, who said he fishes frequently, added that he was excited to claim his prize because his current bicycle is broken.

For other fishers, their efforts were frustrated by several ducks, which snatched the bait off their hooks, and the feeble equipment.

"You should have felt the power of that fish," 13-year-old Darius Love said. "I can't believe he just snapped my line. That's twice."

However, several children, including some who attended the event through camps and community groups, remained in good spirits despite not catching anything.

"I've never caught a fish, but I keep trying," 8-year-old Stephanie Angulo said. "I don't mind waiting for them. It's really fun."

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