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Fishing for fun
Jason Henry, Dylan Henry and Kevin Franklin came from Chatham County to fish. - photo by Photo by Jimmy Courier
More than 250 children along with their families from Liberty, Bryan and surrounding counties converged at the Richmond Hill Fish Hatchery for a fun-filled day of fishing.
The Richmond Hill Exchange Club sponsors the annual event, now in its 17th year.
The event, explained by Exchange Club Director and chairman of the Fishing Derby Lynn Bennett, is a great way to introduce children to fishing.
“It’s amazing. Every year for 17 years, we live on the coast with rivers and beaches and we have tons of kids who have never fished,” he said. “This gives the kisds and their parents an opportunity to fish and it’s a fun day for the parents and the children.”
Bennett estimates that over 4,000 children have participated in the event over the 17 years of existence.
“It’s really important to learn how to fish and to go fishing,” he said. “The ecology is what it’s all about. If we don’t save the planet, then we can’t fish. This gets the children away from the TV and the video games and into the fresh air and into nature. They can appreciate all the things they have in coastal Georgia.”
The event was open to any child 15 and under.
Fishing licenses were not required. The Exchange Club and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources also provided hot dogs, bait and fishing poles for children who did not have one.
DNR also provided the soft drinks.
The DNR regularly stocks the hatchery with various fish but for this event, more than 2,000 extra catfish were added to the two main fishing ponds and the particpants were able to take the fish home, if they wanted.
With that many fish, nearly everyone fishing got a tug on the line and a fish.
It didn’t take long for the children to catch the fish. Ke’Shawn Wright of Hinesville and Zachary Miller caught the first catfish within 10 seconds of the event opening.
Even with school out, the children got up extra early as the fishing started at 8:30 a.m. and lasted until noon.
Bennett said that the Derby is one of the Exchange Club’s biggest community service events.
Other events the Exchange Club is involved in include presenting plaques to the Public Safety Officers of the Year, cooking out for soldiers and their families for the 3rd ID’s welcome home and a scholarship for the Student of the Year.
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