Although it was gray, very breezy and misty at times, many hearts were warmed and smiles abounded at the Ike’s HookEmEarly Kids Fishing Tournament at Haddon Lake Park May 7, 2017. The Ike Foundation Team in their teal Under Armour attire was there early setting up the event with signs from VFX. Many volunteers showed up shortly thereafter, not just individuals who generously donated their Sunday, but great helpers from such organizations as Rowan Fishing Team, Highland HS and Barrington Rod & Reel Club. The worms from Sportman’s Outpost were lined up, while 200 goodie bags were getting stuffed with giveaways from Flambeau, Rapala, Berkley, Dipper Ducks, VMC, Renegade, etc. The kid’s food giveaways were getting ready early too with hot dogs from Country Boys, Herr’s Snacks and Rita’s Water Ice. Then Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs Gloucester Township pulled up with their trailer to promote their kid’s Catfish event on June 10, 2017.
While all this was being organized, the anglers and their chaperones started to line up in front of the registration table where each kid would get a card with their name, age group and designated sponsor labeled fishing location. Registration opened up and the line moved quickly. After completing the registration process, the little anglers moved to the next table where they got an age appropriate giveaway bag and if they desired, an Ike combo rod & reel from Abu Garcia and Pure Fishing. Then it was the end of the line where Mike Iaconelli was waiting to give handshakes, hugs, autographs and take a few pictures. At just about 12 noon, the field was set, the air horn blew and rods were cast all over Haddon Lake. The inaugural Ike’s HookEmEarly Kids Fishing Tournament was underway.
The park atmosphere was intense and 2 hours of concentrated casting lead to some impressive catches. Blue Gill, Bass and Catfish were hoisted and lengths recorded by Rapala golden rules on the back of the registration cards. It seemed like time had flown right by when again the air horn sounded to stop fishing. Cards were turned in and the tallies were being totaled.
While patiently waiting, the crowd had the pleasure of hearing “Amir’s Big Catch" being read by the Author herself, Sheila Jones. Additionally Bella the Bobber had already made her rounds through the crowd and lots of pictures were taken.
Then it was time everyone was waiting for. Mike picked up the megaphone and the winners were announced:
|Age Groups||6 & Under||7-10||11-15|
|1st||Erick W 57"||Matthew M 204"||Treat M 85"|
|2nd||Dylan D 53"||Raymond M 92"||Hunter L 68"|
|3rd||Valentino R 52"||Victor M 56"||Chad E 52"|
|Longest||Matteo P||Hayden S|
|Oddest||Christopher S (his Dad)||Michael V (turtle)||Brianna C (bull frog)|
In addition to medal awards for 1st , 2nd and 3rd in the three age groups a few more prizes were given plus the “Never Give Up" award went to Nicholas V. He didn’t fish with anything but lures even though he never got a bite.
So how do you describe an event like Ike’s HookEmEarly Kid’s Fishing Tournament? Heart warming. All these kids braved the wind & the rain in the outdoors to fish with their families. That is what it is all about - getting kids fishing, making memories and putting smiles on faces. Hook ‘Em Early.
The Ike Foundation 2017 Kids Fishing Event Featured In