Tom Arvoy coordinated the event for August 1st, Gordy Merz lined up over half the rod/reel combos, and Smokey’s Bait Shop provided the live bait for the event. Tom knew the temptation of helping the kids would be too great to stay off his healing ankle injury. Therefore, once we had the combos on-site at the DBCL picnic, he turned the event over to Nick Gosh, Rick Wyrwas, Nancy & Roy Hinkforth, Craig & Nicholas Ader, Gene Pokora, & Mike Phelps.
The day started out damp and cool, but by mid afternoon it was clear and bright. Nicholas and Mike went on a scouting mission to find some fish as we attempted to get the lay of the lake (pond). Mike reported several “large” fish attacking his hook-less Suick on the west end. As we followed with hooks and bait, nothing to be had. Those fish already knew something was wrong. It seemed that the hottest action was on the east end of the pond and after the wind switched.
Fishing was scheduled for 1PM to 2PM and then 3PM to 4PM. The event started slow, with a few kids casting and asking questions. By 1:30PM, most of the kids were catching or seeing fish. Once word got out that fishing was free and the fish were biting, most of the 40 combos were being utilized. Having seven chapter volunteers, we didn’t see the need to stop fishing and ran the event the entire time. The kids were able to keep 1 fish with most supporting CPR. Craig noted some very excited kids which made his day. The Chapter team kept the kids baited, untangled, weed free and removing the hooks from the fish they chose to release. Mike was doing laps around the pond taking photos of the kids with their catch.
Three people were also interested in trying their hand at the mighty baitcaster. Mike worked with them to hone their technique, and before long, they were casting clear across the pond without backlashing.
We’re not sure of total number of fish caught, but the kids sure had fun catching 2″ bullheads, several nice blue gill, perch and some painted turtles. Roy is an excellent hook remover on the turtles!!! Some of the kids caught almost a dozen fish. For each division, first place received a rod/reel combo and second received a lighted Frisbee.