It was the perfect day for fishing and fish they did at the Strausstown Rod and Gun Club Fishing Rodeo on May 5.
Rods were set and hundreds of lines were cast right at 9 a.m. when it was announced that fishing could begin. Both bonds at the club were packed with very little space for those waiting in line to register after the start of the event.
“People come from all over,” said Sherry Fuhrmann co-coordinator of the Fishing Rodeo.
Fuhrmann said that they hope to hit 500 kids this year after having 383 last year. The rodeo was open to the public and was for children up to and including 15 years old. Fishing lasted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with prizes given for four age groups.
Prizes were determined by the total length of three fish with four prizes for each of the four age groups, explained Garry Dieter.
“It gets bigger every year,” said Kirk Brown co-coordinator. “As far as I know, it’s the biggest in the area.”
Brown and Dieter both added that by 6:30 a.m., there were already cars in the parking lots and fisherman set up around the two ponds securing their spots. It was only a few short minutes after the lines were cast in the beginning that the first fish was caught.
“There are 1,800 fish all together,” said Brown when asked how many fish were put into the ponds during a drop off. “We should catch upwards of 600 fish, I think.”
The event has been going on for at least 15 years and planning for the next year starts as soon as this one is done, commented Brown and Dieter.
Every child received a goody bag which contained a bobber, Tastykake and tickets to spend on different foods making everything free for the children. Cabela’s was a supporter and donated most of the prizes. Pure Wild Tea, Boyer’s, Swiss, Good’s, Dieffenbach’s, Tastykake, Berk’s Packing and Dietrich’s Meats donated food and drink products for the rodeo as well.
Around 50 volunteers could be easily spotted in their special shirts which proclaimed “Bait um, Hook um, Catch um, Cook um” on the back. After the rodeo was finished, there was a raffle as well as more food.
Families enjoyed the day and were there to cheer on the young fishermen as they made their catches. After a big catch, one young fisherman proudly proclaimed, “I’m gonna get this mounted.”
Though it is a sport that needs patience, the children enjoyed waiting for the tug on the line and the excitement of reeling the fish in. The weather was perfect for a day at the pond.