Story Of The Cement Fishing Hole In Waycross

How WRD Fisheries turned an unused city pool into a catfish pond for kids.

GON Staff | July 1, 2005

If ever there was a need to give a group of folks a thank you, it’s now.

WRD Fisheries has turned a dilapidated downtown Waycross swimming pool into a place to host an annual kids fishing event (KFE). On June 18, 2005, the pool hosted a new bunch of kids that came out to fish in this cement pond.

“We wanted to find ways to provide an urban fishing opportunity,” said Bert Deener, WRD fisheries region VI supervisor.

“We talked with the (Ware County) Rec. Department and said, ‘What do you have?’ They had this big pool, but the plumbing was bad. It would still hold water, so we filled it up and stocked it in the fall.”

Jaie Love, 4, of Waycross, smiles with her first fish. After breaking the ice with this catfish, she caught several more.

This happened in the late 1990s. If this pool wasn’t filled with water and stocked, it would still be sitting in Waycross doing nothing. The repairs to the pool were too costly for the city to afford. WRD Fisheries turned nothing into something, and that something is now exposing kids to fishing.

“It’s great to see the positive effects from this,” said Bert.

Eleven-year-old Daniel Jacobs, of Waycross, slings this catfish onto the concrete bank.

Channel cats are stocked in the one-third-acre swimming pool during  the late fall. The cats that don’t get caught stay in the pool until next year’s KFE. These KFE survivors eat fish food. “We’ve had them caught up to 4 and 5 pounds,” said Bert.

Forty kids showed up to fish at this year’s event.

“There were 11 kids that had never been fishing before,” said Bert. “A total of 320 channel catfish were caught from the pool.”


This is Haley Sweat’s first-ever fish. The 9-year-old from Waycross was one of 40 kids to show up and fish June 18, 2005.


Todd Dobson, 5, of Waycross, showed this catfish he’s got “Hulk” strength.

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