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We are all going to take away something different from fishing with the kids yesterday but the things that we will have in common are the memories we made fishing with families and friends. There is also a sense of accomplishment for our donation of $2000.00 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. It was especially nice this year because the federal government has a matching program that provides JDRF with $2.00 for every dollar they raise. Our $2000 donation has turned into $6000.00 for research into juvenile diabetes. As Marilyn Holms, from the JDRF, said yesterday every dollar raised puts us one step closer to improving the live of children who are living with this terrible disease.

What sticks in your mind from yesterday at the Kid's event? For me it was spending the best part of three hours fishing with my grandson Ricky while he was on the hunt for a big Perch. We were up to a whopping 10.25" fish when we caught a Bass. At that point he informed me that we had to leave and go catch a Pickerel so he had one of each species to weigh in. His tournament, his game plan. The Perch was big enough but there was no Pickerel in the livewell when we where done. What he talked about last night was catching fifty or so Perch, not the Pickerel we didn't get. He had a ball and so did I. Who would have thought that catching Perch could be so much fun?

While Ricky and I were searching for a Pickerel we saw the Stokdijk's fishing nearby and a beauty of a Smallmouth jumped behind their boat. It was fish on for one of the kids, but which one? For a moment the scene appeared to be absolute chaos with kids yelling encouragement. I couldn't even tell for a moment which one had the fish on. When I was finally able to sort it out, it looked like the youngest one in the boat was hooked up and hanging onto the rod for dear life. To me, that was one of those moments that I will remember and it is part of the reason I love this tournament format. My only regret was that Judy had my camera on shore. It would have been a million dollar photo. It is my sincere hope that each and every one of you had a moment or a memory like this to take home with you at the end of the day.

Who else remembers the little guy who heard his name called to come up and get a prize? He tore up, ran behind me, went by all the rod and reels, water guns etc. on the prize table and helped himself to a trophy. He just as quickly beat his feet back to mom and dad. He didn't get to keep it but it does show how important those trophies are to the little ones. It is moments like these that make this tournament such a special day. In the end the little guy did win one and we all got treated to a giant smile.

Will you remember the kids who were there that didn't fish? Maybe or maybe not. But those kids will remember because someone had the forethought to get us extra medallions and prizes and we were able to call all of the non fishing kids up and give them a medallion and prize. I think there were nine of them and from my point of view there were nine giant smiles that we might have missed had we not been prepared with extras. I think there might be nine more kids in a boat next year. Some of these extras that we were able to provide this year were a direct result of financial assistance from our friends at the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund and we thank them for believing in children's fishing programs.

With the adults and kids we had around 150 people or so which I thought was great considering the weather forecast. Our weigh master, Rick Courier, treated the kids to the same level of professional ism that we are used to seeing at our tournament weigh-ins. Chef Bert, with the funny fish hat, kept the fires lit on the BBQ and made sure we all got enough to eat. Blair and Cathy Boone provided us with another wonderful cake which I regret to say was all gone by the time I realized it was being served. I don't usually miss cake but you snooze you lose. Joe Thompson provided all the hotdog and burger buns and the milk to wash it down. Victory Meat markets was a big help to us on the burgers and hot dogs.

Jennifer Sheils had her hands full keeping all of the paperwork and stats up to date and Donna Beek pitched in wherever she was needed including handling our ticket sales. It was gratifying to say the least to see all of the guys and gals who pitched in to help and make this day run smoothly and I thank you all. A special thank you from me to Andrew Oliver who took a great deal of the stress off of me by providing me with the framework to get this done. As you know Andrew worked very hard on this event for many years and had a wealth of paperwork, forms etc which he provided me with as well as helping me during the day itself with some things I had missed.

To all of you who donated time, prizes and financial support, a big thank you. You are the people who make this day as special as it is. It is my pleasure and good fortune to be able to be part of this group. I look forward to doing this again next year and I guarantee you that I learn from experience and I will raise the bar for myself. As I told Andrew Saturday morning, the last page of my tournament paperwork was blank except for the simple heading "Things I screwed up in2010". Thanks to Andrew and all of you, it is a short list but it is still there.

This day is not so much about the prizes and the trophies although they are important to the kids. It is more about sharing a day with the little ones in our lives while still pursuing our passion for fishing and hopefully passing that passion on to them. It is also about supporting a cause directly related to children by supporting the Canadian Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in their search for a cure. Hopefully down the road there will be no children having to face a life of daily injections and they will find a cure.
Actual stats will be posted when the paperwork dries out a bit more.
Thank you all for participating, it was fun and I am already planning for 2011.
www.nbsportfishing.ca
 
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