Sandy Owen has always enjoy fishing. On Friday, June 8, she, along with others participated in the Annual Senior/Disabled Fishing Derby at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery.

Sandy Owen has always enjoy fishing. On Friday, June 8, she, along with others participated in the Annual Senior/Disabled Fishing Derby at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery.
"I think a part of it (of why I enjoy fishing) is the peacefulness to get out," said Owen. "The atmosphere that you don't have to deal with anybody except for you and the elements of fish. Besides that, I am up to that I need to be out. But I like to fish, that is all to it. I like the feel of the challenge that if you are going to get him or not."
Each participant could catch up to four fish, have them cleaned there and packed in ice for them to take the fish home to eat.
"I have never fished in anything like this (the branch at the hatchery), I am usually down at the lake, creeks or rivers," she said.
Shortly after 9 a.m., Owen caught one of her four fish.
"It took 10 minutes to get the hook out. It took me a lot longer than to catch him," she said. "I really like to fish. That is my favorite past time, fishing and reading. And another good thing with fishing, you can take a book along, sit down in the shade, fish and read at the same time."
A fish story
Owen reflected on a fish that got away about 20 years ago..
"It was about an 8 or 9 pound spotted brown bass out of Table Rock Lake," she said. "It had been in the lake for years to have been that size. that was a beautiful fish and I regret to this day to go ahead and have him butchered and eat him. I should have had enough sense to know that any animal that survives like that, that long, should have been put back in. I could not eat him, I gave the meat away."
Just down on the bank Wes James was sitting, along with his son, with a pole in one hand, hopping to catch their fish.
"We come out ever year, my son is Autistic, this is the fourth year that we have been out here," said James. "We are both handicapped, so we both get to fish, and usually catch our limit. We appreciate what the people are doing to try to making it."
James said his son did catch one, but it got away.
"The fish swallowed the hook and as we were trying to get the hook out, it got lose and went back down," he said. "It was the one that got away."
James said that fishing is relaxing to him.
"It is relaxing, and I use to do more than I do know," he said. "I never was a (avid fisherman), I didn't go in it for the boats, I just kind of like to fish. I use to fly fish, that is one of my favorite. In Oklahoma, I bought the land and we positioned it about 60 feet from my backdoor was the edge of a pond. I am one that doesn't like to sit all day, hope to get a bit, I like action, so when I would go fishing, I like pond fishing because all of the little fish, they are active. I am not your typical fisherman."