By MORGAN MANNS
Local children have an opportunity to reel in good fish and good times this summer.
The Geary Family YMCA Youth Fishing Derby “Fishing for the Future,” hosted by the Geary Family YMCA, is slated for June 7 at Lake Mottrom, Reservoir 2. This event provides an opportunity for local youth to partake in a day filled with learning, fishing and fun.
“(Fishing) is a big part of what we enjoy doing,” Touring Pro Bass Angler and Fostoria Fire Lt. Jason Root said. “And we want to share that with kids of the community. Get them out and active and enjoying something new.”
Registration for the derby is open from 9 to 10 a.m. just before the event. Fishing will begin at 10 a.m. and will last until noon. Children are asked to bring their own fishing equipment; however, bait will be provided.
This year, the fire division has teamed up with the Geary Family YMCA to host the event.
In conjunction, the YMCA offered a class for children grades 2 through 12. Fishing 101, instructed by Root, is a five-week course, one hour every Thursday beginning this Thursday through June 5. Students will learn the basics about fishing, including how to line and cast and about different sinkers and bait, according to Greg Flores, YMCA program director.
A representative from Ohio Department of National Resources and members from the St. Wendelin Catholic School and the Bowling Green State University fishing teams will attend meetings to give their advice and describe their experiences with fishing.
“Traditionally with other sports, like basketball and softball and volleyball and soccer, your body won’t let you do it as you get older,” Flores said. “But fishing, that’s something you can do throughout life. It’s a hobby that you can use and teach your children and your grandchildren. It’s ageless.”
Although it is too late to sign up for the course, Flores said the derby is open to all children, regardless of whether they took the class or not. In the past, the derby has brought in more than 75 people.
Flores said information on the derby will be taken to all schools in the area for students to take home.
Sponsors this year include POET, Dr. Timothy P. Sulken’s Office, Fostoria Rotary Club, the Review Times, the Fostoria Fire Division and Fostoria Police Department, as well as various fishing companies.
Awards and lunch will immediately follow the derby with a cookout at the City Park shelter house. Root said they will hand out awards for biggest fish, smallest fish, most fish, the Ken Drew award and the awards for each age group.
“The primary goal is to give kids more knowledge of fishing,” Root said. “It’s always about kids and giving them a different hobby than video games. It’s about getting them outdoors and getting families together.”
The derby was first put on by Ken Drew of Fostoria, the owner of Fostoria Bait and Tackle, in 2011. According to Root, Drew wanted to do “the best thing for the kids” and give them an opportunity to get out and enjoy the sport of fishing.
Drew died of a massive heart attack hours after the inaugural derby. The community has expanded on Drew’s idea and are making it an annual event for children.
“We’re blessed with six great reservoirs that are well stocked and maintained,” Root said. “We hope to get kids outdoors to utilize them and learn something new and fun.”
For more information, contact Root at rootfishing.com or Flores at 419-435-6608.