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Children gather to cast their lines

At the fourth annual Izaak Walton Lakes of America children’s fishing tournament Saturday, young Michael had a secret weapon –  live bait.

Tuesday, July 13, 1999

At the fourth annual Izaak Walton Lakes of America children’s fishing tournament Saturday, young Michael had a secret weapon –  live bait.

&uot;There are two worms in the cup, because that’s what we caught,&uot; he said. &uot;That’s what we put on my fishing pole and that’s how we catch fish.&uot;

Three yards to the left, David Camp, 9, sits patiently on the grass and waits for a bite.

&uot;I just like catching the fish and eating them,&uot; he said. &uot;I like getting them off the hook, too, because it’s slimy and I like that kind of stuff.&uot;

Before he gets the fish off the hook, though, he has to get a bite, he said.

&uot;I haven’t caught anything yet, but I’ve caught a big fish before, so I think I’ll catch the biggest today,&uot; David said. &uot;I haven’t had any bites yet.&uot;

Whether the fish are biting or not, everyone finishes the contest as a big winner, event organizer Raymond Russell said.

&uot;All the kids will get a prize today, and the one who catches the biggest fish will get to pick out their prize first,&uot; he said. &uot;Even if they don’t catch a fish, they still get a prize for being here.&uot;

The non-profit organization pays for the events through donations and door prize raffles, but the contest remains free for any child – from infants to 16-year-olds – anyone who can hold a pole, he said.

&uot;This is for the kids, and everything is free, even the food,&uot; Russell said. &uot;This year we hope to have two. There will be another one in September around Labor Day.&uot;

Katlynn Nicely, 7, stood on the bank with her eyes glued to her bobber, ready to pull the moment it disappeared.

&uot;I like to catch the fish because it’s fun,&uot; she said. &uot;When the bobber moves, you just pull on it and get a fish.&uot;

Even the fish ended the day as winners. Contest rules made sure the fish were returned to their lake home after weigh-in.

And even though there won’t be any fish for Easter dinner, there won’t be a shortage of eggs. In honor of the event’s timing this year, the children went fishing for Easter eggs in an egghunt that followed the contest.