Hooked on fishin’

Big D Valley Bassmasters hosting Kids’ Fishing Derby

Since its inception 16 years ago Big “D” Valley Bassmasters has become one of the biggest fishing clubs in New Jersey. With the Kids’ Fishing Derby the club is looking to spread their love for the sport to a new generation.

“A large number of the kids have never fished before, and we try to help them out,” said Jim Thompson, a club member and one of the event’s main organizers. “I really hope that the kids get into fishing and we can get them involved in something outdoors; anything to get them away from screens and videogames. It’s something they can do with their parents.”

Thompson gives all credit to his wife Dawn for helping him pull this off. His own love of the sport started with his uncle, who would take him on fishing trips when he was a teen. From those experiences he became a lifelong fisherman and a big believer that exposing kids to the great outdoors at a young age is crucial for their development. “You never know where this can take you, or who you will meet,” said Thompson.

A number of local businesses have gotten involved with the event and are pitching in to make sure it’s a success. “We have a ton of sponsors now and it’s been a huge help,” said Thompson. JB Bakery will be providing donuts first thing in the morning and Legends Pizza has lunch covered with some of their legendary pies.

First-, second- and third-place prizes will be awarded for the biggest fish caught and for the most fish caught but Thompson wishes everyone attending to know no child will leave the event empty handed.

Sylvan Lake is home to a variety of fish just waiting to be caught. Junior fishers have a chance at reeling in bass, trout, sunfish and catfish. According to Thompson, “sunfish are the most common in shallower water where the kids will be fishing.”

This will be the sixth derby that the Big “D” Bassmasters has hosted since it began in June of 2016. Thompson pushed for this derby to be scheduled a month earlier than last year’s, which took place on Oct. 30th. He believes the fish will be more plentiful earlier in the season leading to more catches and fewer disappointed kids.

In addition to a fun day of fishing, safety is top priority for the event’s organizers. Officers from the Burlington Township Police Department will be in attendance as well as the fire department. Emergency technicians will also be on hand in case any hook should end up stuck in anything other than a worm.

The event is for kids 15 and under and will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15th from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Sylvan Lake on Lake Ave. in Burlington. Poles and fishing supplies will be provided although attendees are encouraged to bring whatever supplies they already have to the derby.

If you are one of many parents who believe their kids should spend more time outside there are few better ways to enjoy the extended summer weather we’ve been experiencing than a day of fishing. For questions, contact Jim Thompson (609) 458–8634 or Pete Green (609) 668–3308.