LAKE BROWNWOOD — Officials with Flat Rock Park hope their venue remains the permanent home of the Lake Brownwood Community Development Council Kids Fishing Tournament following a successful Saturday.

Hundreds of area kids cast their reels along the Flat Rock Park pier, boat dock and shoreline, hoping to land a fish big enough to earn them first place at Saturday’s tournament and park manager Gino Moreno said keeping Flat Rock as the permanent location is a top priority.

“We’re happy to host this event at our park,” Moreno said. “It brings a lot of good attention here and for the right reasons … Now that we have gotten involved with it, and as much fun as the kids and parents are having, we’re really hoping this event will stay in Flat Rock Park every year from now.”

Marino said the fishing tournament was one of the biggest events Flat Rock Park has experienced since July 4 festivities in 2017. After new owners purchased Flat Rock Park two years ago, it has undergone numerous renovations.

“This is our first time hosting this tournament and we’re happy to have them here,” Moreno said. “I like that the focus has been on education and the sportsmanship of fishing. The kids are the next generation to start fishing. It’s nice that the community development center’s focus has been on education.”

Early morning clouds and low temperatures did not scare off the attendees, who cast off as early as 8 a.m. Saturday. Bishop Distributing provided free rods and reels for each child and for many children attending Saturday it was their first experience at the lake.

“I’ve been fishing for a long time, but this is his first time,” Joe Garcia Sr. said as he and Joe Jr. walked by from weighing his first catch. “It’s pretty amazing. He didn’t even know he caught it. He was happy about it.”

While Joe Garcia Sr. and his son spent the first of what they hope to be many more days at the lake, other more experienced fishermen tried to land the top prize Saturday. At press time, the results had not been released, but one of the contenders was Ezequil Lopez.

“I love it. We caught so many fish here,” said Lopez, after releasing one of his larger fish after weighing it.

George Lopez, Ezequil’s father, said he tries to provide his son with everything he could not have as a child and events like Saturday’s tournament help him achieve that goal.

“I’m just here to give my kid a good time. It was not something I could do as a kid,” Lopez said.