Thirty-five kids from the Claremont Boys and Girls Club lined the bank of Lake Norman waiting for their bobber to disappear under the water. Volunteers were close-by to help bait hooks, help cast wiggling worms to the best spot, untangle lines and hopefully to help land big whoppers. All fish, bushes and trees were released unharmed.
Happy, excited voices yelled, "I got one, I got one!"
The Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists, Midway Marina Bait and Tackle, The Boathouse Grill, Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet and The Dale Earnhardt Foundation teamed up with Bob Bauer, Mark Lancaster, 18 volunteers, three local fishing guides and youth mentors from the Southfork Junior Bassmasters to put on the first Lake Norman Clean Cast for Kids Fishing Tournament at Midway Marina.
This was the first of several events planned for this year. Stutts Marina and Lake Norman Marina are the sites for the next events.
Bob Bauer is involved in the Southfork Junior Bassmasters, is the youth director for the NC Federation Nation and works tirelessly to promote bass fishing for kids.
Devon Lee was so excited when a largemouth bass hit his worm and yanked his bobber out of sight. The smile on his face couldn't have been any bigger! The bass weighed 2 pounds 8 1/2 ounces. Bob Patrick, a volunteer from the Balls Creeek Bassmasters Club deftly handled the landing net.
The Boathouse Grill dining room filled with smiles and laughter as the kids shared fishing stories; the ones that got away as they wolfed down hot dogs, burgers and fries. After lunch the fishing didn't seem quite as serious as the kids squashed worms and played in the water. Every time someone brought a fish to the scale kids wanted to touch and feel the fish
Kerry Earnhardt was also on hand to help out with the event and share one of his passions, fishing, with the kids in attendance. "I love a good day of fishing, and when I was asked to help show kids how to fish there was no way I could turn down the opportunity," Kerry said of the event.
Almost everyone caught a fish and they all had fun. Fish were weighed and hourly prizes were awarded for the largest fish in 4 categories.
Ivey Huffman, 9, from Conover, was the angler of the day and weighed 4 fish. Her 1 pound 7 ounce channel catfish won the catfish category and she took hom a new rod and reel.
Devon Lee's big bass was never challenged and he easitly won the bass division.