July 22, 2013

'Hooked on Fishing' draws large crowds

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer


“Reel it in just a little bit ... that’s good. Now let it sit a minute. That’s a real good spot.”

Those were the words of Keith Hibbitts as he instructed his son, Daniel, in the art of fishing.

It was the first time the divorced father had the opportunity to take his son on a fishing excursion, but one that the young boy quickly described as being a fun event with his dad.

Carefully casting into the edge of a cattail lined lake at Heritage Hills, the father and son duo were among more than 30 other participants in the second event of the UNITE Coalition’s "Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs" event.

Hopeful fishermen and women picked their spots at the three lakes on the Tourism Commission’s property off Falls Street, sitting on the bank or in chairs. Some just stood at the dock near the patio of the banquet hall area, tossing their baited hooks into the inviting waters in hopes of reeling in “the big catch” of the day.

The event brings families together for a fun-filled, family-oriented evening of constructive and productive activities and encourages positive free-time interests. Positive interests and close family ties can encourage today’s youth to take heed against drugs and alcohol that are often a temptation to all ages.

“I got the first one!” screamed 9-year-old Eddie Hess, as he reeled in a fish just minutes after the competition began Tuesday evening. 

With just a few quick movements to unhook the fish, Hess ran at his fastest pace to ‘weigh in’ his catch, returning excitedly to his selected spot in anticipation of his next one.

His enthusiasm paid off quickly again. Within minutes, Hess had hooked another fish.

While Hess was running back and forth to log in the number and weight of the fish he had caught, other participants sat quietly, waiting ... waiting ... waiting, until their line bobbed slightly.

For some, the nibble at the end of the line was just a slight motion that often ended with the bait being taken off the hook but no fish in sight. For others, the movement at the end of the line ensured a real catch.

The Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs campaign has been a crowd drawer so far this year. Organizers said the first fishing event in June brought out close to 100 people — the highest attendance in two years. Approximately 70 attended Tuesday.

Hooked on Fishing is free for children, and they must be accompanied by an adult. The next Hooked on Fishing event is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Heritage Hills lake.

For more information, contact Christie Shrader at 877-8618.