Kids get Hooked on Fishing

By WEEK Producer

August 4, 2012 Updated Aug 6, 2012 at 8:53 AM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill. -- Chad Ingham of Washington got hooked when he just as a kid.

"I used to fish a long time ago with my grandfather but haven't been able to do it recently," Ingham said while fishing with his daughter Gabrielle and son Keegan on Saturday. "With my kids, now that they're getting curious about it, I think that's going to be a new family hobby."

And Chad's daughter Gabi appeared to be a natural, catching a nice sized bass.

"Its kind of fun seeing the bobber go down and its kind of hard to reel it in to see if you actually got the fish," said Gabi.

Gabi's catch came at Dixon's Ponds in East Peoria during a special fishing derby. Its called Hooked on Fishing, once-a-month summertime event to them to the sport.

And it's free.

"First they have to get their line in the water so we try to teach them casting," explained volunteer Bob Meiss. "Then we have to get them to pay attention to their bobber so that they're aware when a fish is biting."

The kids are certainly biting. They didn't even have to bring their own rod or reel. All the equipment is provided by Presley's Outdoors of Bartonville. Its their way promoting fishing and giving back to the community.

The derby was the fourth Hooked on Fishing event held at Dixon's Ponds this summer. The first one drew fewer than 20 entrants. On Saturday, there were over 200.

There are also about two dozen volunteers who may reel in the most enjoyment from the event.

"There's no way to describe the feeling you get when someone is catching their first fish or catching a big fish," said Meiss. "They may become a life-long fisherman based upon an experience they had as a child."

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