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Wal-Mart ups its support for Kids All-American Fishing Derbies

KETCHUM, OK -  Last year more than 100,000 youngsters fished, many for the first time, in a Kids All-American Fishing Derby. In 2002 the number of young derby anglers will grow to nearly 400,000, thanks to a major commitment to the program by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.  The announcement was made by Gordon Holland, executive director of Hooked on Fishing International (HOFI), the Ketchum, Oklahoma organization that has, for sixteen years, managed the derby program that introduces the sport of fishing to young people.

"Wal-Mart has asked us to organize a derby in communities where there is a Wal-Mart store," said Holland. The majority of the events will be held Saturday, June 8, during National Fishing and Boating Week, and will conclude Wal-Mart's new Take a Kid Fishing Week activities consisting of parking lot casting and reeling contests, coloring contests and scavenger hunts. These efforts are in conjunction with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation's "Water Works Wonders" campaign.  The RBFF is instrumental in coordinating National Fishing & Boating Week, June 1-9, 2002.

"Thanks to the support and the commitment of the supplier sponsors and the Kids All-American Fishing Derby program, this will be the most exciting kids' fishing event that Wal-Mart has ever conducted," said Mike McFadden, VP DMM, Sporting Goods, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 
Last year the program provided materials to and was involved with over 700 derbies in all 50  states with support by its title sponsor, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and more than a dozen other companies with prominent brands. Adult groups interested in organizing a local derby can get information from the HOFI web site -, or by requesting information via email at, or by writing Hooked On Fishing International, P O Box 660, Ketchum, OK 74349.

KETCHUM, OK -- Young people often ask Santa to bring them fishing tackle -- rods, reels, bobbers, line, hooks and lures. Parents, particularly those who are not anglers themselves, might wonder. Is their child old enough to fish? Is the fishing tackle safe, or age-appropriate?

Hooked on Fishing International (HOFI), which annually sanctions more than 700 Kids All-American Fishing Derbies across the U.S., has prepared a few tips for parents and Santa.

* The ideal starter fishing set for kids is a "combo" package with a matching rod and spin-cast reel. The youngest little anglers love to learn on rod and reel sets endorsed by their favorite cartoon character.

* Will your child be able to cast the rod and reel? This depends on the child, of course, but HOFI recommends that you go ahead and authorize Santa to put it under the tree. Like a child grows into a pair of jeans, yours will learn to use the rod and reel and eventually cast like a pro. A shorter rod is easier to handle than a long rod and a good rule of thumb is that the rod should be no taller than the child.

* Another great gift idea is a personal tackle box for your young angler, especially one that's pre-loaded with sinkers, bobbers, plastic minnows, a stringer and such.

* And, for the older child with more advanced skills, a new lure can make great a stocking stuffer. 

* To make sure Santa brings the exact item or items on your child's list, take the child to a well-stocked fishing department, like Wal-Mart's, so the young person in your family can point out the items he or she wants Santa to bring.

Gordon Holland, HOFI executive director, cited a recently released study from the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association.  Between 1990 and 2000, according to "Teens & Sports in America", an average of 6.5 million children from 12 to 17 participated annually in freshwater fishing, making fishing the most popular outdoor activity with teens. "We still have a lot of work to do," said Holland. "The SGMA report notes that the next big bulge of consumers -- more than 70 million -- are under the age of 18, which means we will need to introduce the fishing experience to lots of new kids in the years to come."

"We salute all of the host organizations who have made our kids fishing derby program the biggest fishing event for kids in the country. They are the ones who should take credit for bringing freshwater fishing to this level of popularity among teenagers," continued Holland.

Using an all-in-one kit provided by HOFI, parks and recreation departments, civic groups like Optimists and Kiwanis clubs, and many federal and state agencies including the U. S. Forest Service, host these derbies in the spring and summer months.  The derby kit includes a helpful guidebook, banner, posters, entry forms for several nationwide contests, goodies for the kids, and lots of prizes including a tackle box and two reel and rod combos, and plenty of product samples from the sponsors. 

HOFI is issuing its last call for adult groups to reserve a kit to organize an event in 2002. To order an information/application brochure online, go to Organizations may also receive additional information by contacting HOFI at or in writing, addressing the envelope to Hooked On Fishing International, P O Box 660, Ketchum, OK 74349. Requests to host 2002 events must be     received by December 31, 2001.

The 2002 season of the Kids All-American Fishing Derby will mark the sixteenth year that Hooked on Fishing International has sanctioned the celebrated youth program with the support of America's top companies, led by title sponsor Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Sponsoring brands include Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Southwest Airlines, Fujifilm, Dubble Bubble Bubble Gum, Laker by Jadico, Trilene, Eagle Claw, Zebco, Berkley PowerBait, and 

Salt Water Sportsman Seminar Series - 
Bimini Trip


Salt Water Sportsman Magazine’s Senior Editor George Poveromo, Evinrude Outboard Motors, Captain Harry’s Fishing Supply,  Moldcraft Lures and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism  sponsor a fishing expedition to Bimini each year. This trip is one I look forward to because of the location, camaraderie and the learning experience provided by having such knowledgeable anglers who are willing to help everyone catch fish.

We left Port Everglades the morning of May 31, 2000 for my third crossing to Bimini. I was making the crossing in Rock Boat II, a 33 foot Intrepid, with friends and fishing buddies, Captain Richard Delizza, Dino Barone, Jimmy Darrah and Lou Greenwell.

As we cleared the jetties and nosed the boat eastward we knew it was going to be a rough ride from the building swells and the look of the sky. After about half an hour, Captain Rich decided that the conditions were not right for the crossing so we turned around and headed back. Just outside of the port we paused and discussed the situation and decided to head south along the beach to Government Cut. This would keep us sheltered and allow time for the weather to pass and also put us a little closer to Bimini.

When we arrived at Government Cut we re-evaluated the weather and determined the situation had improved so we again headed toward the islands. The seas as expected were "Higher in the Stream" and the ride was wet from both salt spray and rain. After a rough, wet and long ride Captain Rich brought us safely into the marina at the Bimini Big Game Club, which would be our home for the next four days.

After clearing customs, checking into our rooms, putting on some dry clothes and a brief recuperation we decided to go "Out Front" and fish!

We headed out of the harbor watching the bottom drop away on the depth finder. About a mile off we idled the engines and put out our first set of  lures to drag through the beautiful deep blue water. Within a few minutes we had observed a Sailfish jumping in the distance so we trolled in that direction. Thirty minutes or so had passed and we were up "Off the Pines" when the left flatline pole did a couple of jerks. Captain Rich looked back and saw a Sailfish in hot pursuit of the flatline lure. Lou grabbed the pole, dropping the lure back and the Sail ate it. The fight was on and Mr. Sail was not going to come easily. Jumping, running and jumping some more, it was a beautiful sight. Lou was slowly winning the battle. He had brought the fish near the boat but the fish wasn’t finished yet. He started another jumping run and ran his bill into the side of the boat popping the rub rail molding out of its track! WOW! What a fish! After a few more minutes Lou had brought the sail to the side of the boat for a quick measurement (6-1/2 ‘ approx. 50 pounds) and Captain Rich released him unharmed to be caught again. We were all laughing and slapping high five’s to congratulate each other on a great job.

Each member of the Rock Boat II’s crew has a job when a fish is hooked. To watch this group clearing lines, pulling in teasers, raising outriggers and clearing the deck and gunwales in under a minute for the guy fighting the fish is pure teamwork in motion.

We decided to call it a day and head back for a relaxing evening at the Big Game Club and maybe a walk through "downtown" Alice Town, Bimini. 

That evening we attended the kick off meeting and ate the buffet dinner provided for the registered participants.  We then headed "Up dis a way". This was Jimmy Darrah’s first trip to Bimini so we needed to provide an orientation tour. Our first stop was "The End of the World Bar" which to our surprise had undergone a complete renovation and transformation. Gone was the Fish 4 Fun shirt I had stapled to the ceiling last year and so was all the other underwear, clothing and whatever else that had been hung up there. We had a drink and went out back to find a graffiti wall that is covered with many thoughtful and philosophic phrases and dates. Lou grabs a marker and goes to work. Once he got started it was hard to stop him, he must have written at least ten messages to immortalize the Rock Boat II and crew. I decide to leave my Fish 4 Fun shirt that I am wearing so off it comes and Lou jumps up on a chair and staples it to the ceiling. That was enough for the first night so back to the Big Game Club we go to prepare for the next day and get some sleep.

Thursday morning, the Captain and crew decide to go south. We trolled all day down off Cat Cay. We followed some birds and had one knockdown. When we reeled in to check the bait, a bent hook point was found. Not much fishing action today.

Thursday evening we ate a good dinner provided for the participants in the Big Game Club's Gulf Stream Restaurant and then walked down to "The Compleat Angler" for a beverage and to try our luck at the local game of skill. A ring on a string is suspended from the ceiling and on the wall about 12 feet away is a hook. The object is to swing the ring like a pendulum across the room so that it ends up on the hook. Believe it or not all five of us accomplished this in about a fifteen-minute period. I have never been able to do it before! The Compleat Angler is a place Ernest Hemingway frequented and is filled with pictures and writings of his fishing exploits in Bimini and a model of his boat the "Pilar". A must place to visit and spend some time when you visit Bimini.

Friday we had planned to head north and fish around Great Isaac near the New Providence Channel. As we headed north we could see a large group of thunderstorms and a waterspout. We decided to put in our lines and troll awhile off of "North Point" to give the storm time to move. It wasn’t long when the the long left rigger was hit and carried toward the short right creating a belly of slack in the line. The right rigger line released next to me. I grabbed the rod and feeling the fish, I set the hook. Bang! the line snapped. Almost immediately the starboard rigger goes off. Jimmy Darrah grabs the rod and sets the hook. The pole bends under the load, it’s a big fish but Jimmy shows him who's in charge! It’s a 37-pound Dolphin and it’s in the box. We decide to fish this area the rest of the day. We catch two more 18 to 20 pound dolphin and put them in the box for the seafood cookout tonight.

Saturday we made the run up to Great Isacc and trolled all day with very little action other than another knockdown and a few Barracuda. We listened on the radio to a battle going on with a 250 lb Blue Marlin which was brought to leader and released. A nice 55 lb Kingfish was caught aboard George Poveromo’s boat. Today's fishing ended in a driving rain and thunderstorm as we entered the harbor

Saturday evening was the Awards Presentation where some nice Plaques and Carey Chen Prints were given out as awards. Our Sailfish held out as the biggest for an award but our dolphin was beat by 4 or 5 pounds.

Saturday evening we had dinner at the Anchorage. The food and service at the Anchorage was very good. The Anchorage was the Lerner family (Lerner Shops) home when they were here on Bimini. Mike Lerner was an avid fisherman in the 1930’s.  A great finish to four days of fishing!

The trip back to Port Everglades Sunday was smooth and comfortable. As we headed west, we kept looking back as we watched the Island disappear below the horizon, knowing we would return next year.. The return trip took less than 1-1/2 hours.

All in all there were a lot of fish caught. Dolphin, Wahoo, Kingfish, Grouper, Snapper, Sailfish, Marlin, Triggerfish, Yellowfin Tuna, Blackfin Tuna, Barracuda and more……… It was a great trip and if the group keeps growing we may need a bigger boat!

A special thank you to George Poveromo and the sponsors, Evinrude Outboard Motors, Captain Harry’s Fishing Supply,  Moldcraft Lures and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism for their contributions in making this such a great trip!


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