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Reeling 'em in

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By James Roberts

Jacob Wilson was thrilled with his first catch of the day. He was not so thrilled at the prospect having to unhook the tiny bluegill and toss it back into Green River Lake. So, with his brother Joshua looking on, Jacob turns to his mother, Wilma, for the dirty work.

Jacob and Joshua were two of about 25 kids who participated in the Green River Lake Kids' Fishing Derby Saturday at Green River Lake State Park.

The turnout, 34 total, including adults, is about the norm, Park Ranger Larry Lemmon said. On average, about 35 to 40 people attend the annual event.

"It's just to promote people getting outdoors," Lemmon said of the event. "It promotes the environment and provides some outdoor education. We're teaching people to fish."

While the fish were not biting very often early on, things picked up later, Lemmon said. By the end of the three-hour event, the kids had caught five carp weighing 3 pounds or more, several blue gill and a catfish.

"Most of those that participated caught something."

Lemmon hopes that success will establish a new hobby. To ensure the novice fishermen see success, Lemmon said, the area is baited with corn a few days prior to the event.

While the fishing derby does attract anglers with experience, it also brings out a few who've never fished before, Lemmon said.

"Some of them have fished before and they bring their own supplies. But, for some of them, this is the first time they've fished so we offer the poles and the bait. Hopefully, this will establish a new hobby. That's what the event is all about."

Prizes were given away - rods and reels, tackle and a backpack - Lemmon said. The prizes are door prizes only, as the fishing derby is not a contest.

"It's more or less to promote fishing."

- Staff Writer James Roberts can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 226 or by e-mail at writer@cknj.com. Comment on this story at www.cknj.com.