When Jim Waters took his then-10-year-old son Matt to the Pearl River Rotary’s Jake Amann Fishing Contest about 27 years ago, Matt caught a fish and won a tackle box.
On Saturday, Matt Waters, of Bardonia, was back at the event with his father and someone new: Matt’s 6-year-old son, Ryan, who caught a fish, earning him a trophy.
“This is the second time we’ve taken [Ryan] fishing,” Matt Waters said. “I remember enjoying the event when I was kid the few times wen went, and so we thought it’d be nice to take him to it as well.”
The Waters were just one of the more than 50 families at Saturday’s free event at the pond in Veteran's Memorial Park in Orangeburg, organized by the Pearl River Rotary.
“The idea is to get kids interested in fishing,” said Vincent Acocello, a past president of the Pearl River Rotary and the MC of the event. “We want the kids to get an idea for what it’s like to catch a fish.”
The joy that came with catching a fish could be heard and seen from all over the pond, as it was usually accompanied by a yell of “I caught a fish” and a bunch of jumping up and down. All fish that were caught had to be throw back into the water. Each fish caught earned the child a ticket, which could then be traded in for prizes of varying sizes, with some kids collecting enough tickets to win new fishing poles.
Trophies were also given out for the biggest fish caught by a boy and the biggest fish caught by a girl. Trophies were also given out for different challenges throughout the event, such as the next child wearing sports memorabilia to catch a fish and other items Acocello came up with.