The annual Prosper Fishing Derby had its largest attendance yet Feb. 22, as families got outside and cast their fishing rods in the Frontier Park lake for a Prosper tradition.


Multiple families lined up around the lake, casting their rods out into the water, hoping to catch something before the final whistle was sounded announcing the end of the event.


The event was about the community coming together, said Place 1 Town Council member Marcus Ray.


“I think this is one of the largest show outs we’ve had for a fishing derby,” Ray said. “It’s exciting to see.”


Fishing is about strengthening family bonds, Ray said.


“We’re creating opportunities for kids to hang out with their families,” he said. “It’s more than just fishing, you’re encouraging family units to spend time together, and so from that you see communication, you see instruction taking place, you see celebration when they reel a fish in, and you see encouragement when they lose a fish.”


The derby provides a way for families to find tranquility, Ray said.


“Any time you get a bunch of kids and families together, it’s a good thing, especially with how busy life gets these days,” he said.


“Families, kids - it’s the best of what Prosper has,” he said.


Orthopedic surgeon and McKinney resident Kwame Ennin, who was at the event, agreed.


Family is “everything. It’s the whole point of existence. To bond with your people, take care of them, teach them things, enjoy them.”


Attending the Prosper event was enjoyable, Ennin said. “(It was) lots fun. My son had a great time. I spent a lot of time untangling lines,” he said.


Ennin used variety of baits, including an entire morning meal.


“We tried bread and eggs and bacon - anything in a breakfast sandwich, we tried,” he said.


In the end, laying a foundation for children is the most crucial aspect of family bonding, Ennin said.


“I think that building strong kids, that’s how we can most effectively contribute to our communities,” he said.


Prosper resident Jason Lewis, said the event gave families a chance “to do something that’s a little bit different than everything else you do in a day’s time.


“It’s just another way to build a closer family and meet other people and see them experience (it), and that’s the way you learn,” he said.


Outdoor activity can be a rarity in modern times, Lewis said. “Catching your own meal for the day, you don’t hardly ever do that either,” he said.


Lewis, who has lived in Prosper for almost a decade, noted that the number of attendants at the event had increased over the years.


“It was amazing. There was hardly any room to cast another pole. It was pretty full for the majority of the time,” he said.


Lewis was pleased with the turnout. “It makes you feel good, it’s a lot of fishermen yet to come.”