Take a kid fishing. If you’ve spent any amount of time hanging out in the local tackle shops, online forums, or perusing through your favorite angling magazines and newsletters, no doubt you have heard this slogan. For some, this particular slogan means much more. In Delaware, the number of publicly open youth fishing clubs is on the rise. Starting from zero just a few years ago, both the Delaware B.A.S.S. Federation Nation and the Delaware Bass Federation (TBF/FLW) have seen a dramatic increase in membership numbers.
Delaware B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Youth Director Robert Moody, also Executive Director of the Reel Expectations organization (www.reelexpectations.org), throughout his career as a high school resource officer and state police trooper has seen his share of disadvantaged children wandering aimlessly through life. Mr. Moody, through his involvement with Reel Expectations and the Delaware bass fishing community, has organized a tremendous opportunity for adults and youth alike. That opportunity is the Cast for Kids tournament, a.k.a. the Mel Seichepine Memorial Youth Scholarship tournament.
The CFK tournament pairs adult anglers and their youth counterparts in a fun-filled day of tournament fishing that benefit the scholarship fund in honor of the late Melvin “Big Daddy” Seichepine, former Vice President of the Delaware Bass Federation and Delaware youth fishing pioneer. The Reel Expectations organization has conducted the tournament for the past seven years, leading up to this year’s event on May 22nd on the Nanticoke River in Seaford, Delaware.
Since 2003, the CFK tournament has fielded over 200 teams of anglers young and old, given away over 150 rod/reel combinations to the younger participants, and raised over $8,000 for the scholarship fund. The $40 entry fee has remained unchanged since the inception, which makes the tournament affordable, and at that price, really tough to beat for a day on the water with a child, or teen.
Each year, the Delaware Bass Federation selects students from the Delmarva area as recipients of the scholarship fund. Many of those young people participated in the event as youth anglers. In addition to other professions, Mr. Moody expressed “we are blessed to have nurses, teachers and law enforcement officers that were beneficiaries of the Mel Seichepine scholarship fund.”
As this year’s event concluded, I am happy to report that numbers of youth anglers, as they were coming off the water and made their way to the weigh-in stage, were obviously thrilled by the day’s activities. Their day on the water with either a parent or a volunteer boater made for one very special day that I am sure they will not soon forget.
Personally, I was taken back after it was all said and done by my young partner. He is 14 years old and spends most of his fishing days in a local storm water retention pond in his community, fine tuning his skills and catching glorious numbers and sizes of largemouth bass. At 14 his largest fish to date is a 6 ½ pound largemouth bass, at age 39…mine is 7 pounds. For the record, my youthful energetic partner caught our team’s lunker on a tomato colored senko, and I swear I’ve never seen a kid smile so wide for so long! As he tired half way through the day, I enjoyed just peering out the corner of my eye, watching as he would lift the livewell lid to admire the fish, and sit down on the rear deck, but still keep on casting. Moments in my fishing career that I know I will never forget! Thanks Matt!