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Top prizes for kids participating in the annual Fishing with Cops tournament include 50-inch TVs, electric scooters, hoverboards, and a four-hour charter boat rental. Young anglers from across the Highland Lakes are invited to fish with Cottonwood Shores police officers during the free event, which is from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 20, at the LBJ Marina, 200 Wirtz Dam Road.  

The competition will be split among three age brackets: 0-6, 7-11, and 12-17. Prizes will be awarded for biggest fish, smallest fish, and most fish caught. 

Officers will provide the rods and bait, although participants can bring their own gear. Volunteers will dish out hotdogs, hamburgers, popcorn, and chips for hungry anglers.

By hosting the event, the Cottonwood Shores Police Officer Association aims to create stronger bonds between the community and law enforcement.

“It’s a fun time,” said Sgt. Shawn Scarborough, the POA’s president. “The kids enjoy it. They get to interact with officers and see that we’re not the bad guys.”

Attendance has grown since the group’s first Fishing with Cops in 2021.

“The first year was pretty decent — 50-some-odd kids,” Scarborough said. “The second year was just shy of 100.”

Rules for the event are minimal, though organizers ask adults to leave the reeling in to the youngsters.

“We don’t mind if the parents hook (the fish) if the kid is, like, 3 years old, but don’t do the fishing for them,” Scarborough said. “It’s a competition, sort of, but it is for fun. It’s for the kids and not necessarily for the parents.”

Scarborough said the event would not be a reality without the support of volunteers and sponsorships from local businesses.

“We couldn’t do this without them,” he said. “Without them, the event wouldn’t be what it is.”

Founded in 2021, the Cottonwood Shores Police Officer Association hosts several community-oriented events and programs throughout the year, including Christmas with Cops and a scholarship fund for Marble Falls High School graduates.