Junior anglers enjoy a day at Caleb Smith Park that was off-the-hook

Junior anglers enjoy a day at Caleb Smith Park that was off-the-hook

Submitted by the Friends of Caleb Smith Preserve

It was a beautiful day for fishing on June 8, and that’s exactly what children with rods and bait in hand did during the Friends of Caleb Smith Preserve’s Annual Junior Angler Tournament. 

The Friends group held two catch-and-release fishing competitions at the preserve: one for 5- to 8-year-olds in the morning of June 8 and another for 9- to 12-year-olds in the afternoon. Throughout the day, more than 40 junior anglers caught a total of 151 fish, according to Tom and Carol Tokosh, event co-chairs. The variety of fish included trout, bass and sunfish.

“For some of the children, it was their first time fishing. For others, it was the first fish they ever caught,” Carol Tokosh said. “The children would get very excited with each fish that they caught.”

Morning winners included Logan Wagner, 8, who won Most Fish Caught, which was 6. Salvatore Rizzo, 5, won Biggest Panfish for catching one that was 9 inches. Easton Hodge, 8, caught a 21-inch trout, which garnered him the Biggest Other Fish award. In the afternoon, Arabella Siegel, 12, won Most Fish Caught for reeling in an 11-inch fish. Patrick O’Donnell caught a 9-inch panfish which earned him The Biggest Panfish award. The Biggest Other Fish award went to Connor Biddle, 11, whose catch measured 17 inches. 

Raffles were held at both sessions. Oliver Rogeinski won a rod, reel and tackle box. The prize was in memory of Michael D’Agostino, who was one of the founders of FCSP. In the afternoon tournament, Addilynn Blaine won a reel and rod donated in memory of Peter Paquette, the Friends group treasurer, who passed away in May. Both D’Agostino and Paquette volunteered every year at the tournament. 

All participants received goodie bags containing information about fishing and the preserve as well as word search puzzles, a park activity book and other fishing items.

The event co-chairs thanked the volunteers for their help during the event as well as sponsors Campsite Store Shop and The Fisherman magazine for sponsoring the junior angler tournament.

“A special thank you goes out to the staff at Caleb Smith State Park Preserve for getting the park ready so the children could have a wonderful time fishing,” Carol Tokosh said. “Hopefully, the children will be hooked on fishing and will come back to the park to fish.”

Tom Tokosh encouraged junior anglers to visit the park to participate in catch-and-release fishing regularly. “It’s refreshing to see children out fishing and enjoying an activity in the fresh air,” he said. “Fishing at Caleb Smith State Park Preserve always makes for a memorable day.”

For more information on fishing at Caleb Smith State Park Preserve, call 631-265-1054.

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