By Louie Stout
Tired of your kids – or grandkids – sitting lethargically in front of a computer screen or computer game on a nice summer day?
Why not get them outdoors and expose them to fishing?
The St. Joe Valley Bassmasters Youth Tournament is a good place to do it and one of the best in the Midwest. The 43rd annual event will be held on the banks of Worster Lake in Potato Creek State Park.
It’s slated for Aug. 10 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The event is free to kids ages 4 to 14, although you will have to pay the state park fee to get on the grounds.
Don’t be intimidated by the word “tournament.” Yes, there will be prizes, but every kid goes home with something and the kids are divided into age groups. There will be boy and girl divisions for ages 4-7. 8-11 and 12-14.
The local club gives away a lot of cool prizes, including bicycles, TVs, camping and fishing equipment and other great prizes to the top finishers in each division. The contest is determined by total inches of fish caught, regardless of fish size or species.
Every kid gets a T shirt, a goodie bag filled with candy, school supplies and other items all supplied by local merchants. They also get fed at the end of the day as the club provides free hot dogs and soft drinks.
All you have to do is bring the child, fishing gear and livebait and accompany him or her while fishing from shore. Club members will be on hand to assist.
The youth contest is one of the longest running kid events in the Midwest and averages 175 kids each year. In fact, some grandparents of last year’s participants contest participated in the same event when they were youngsters.
Of course, anyone who wishes to volunteer to help out would be appreciated.
You can save time by pre-registering. Simply go to the club’s website (www.stjoevalleybassmasters.com), click on youth tournament and download the entry form. You can sign up the morning of the event beginning at 8:30, but the club urges parents to pre-register their kids so it can get a handle on how many participants it will have.
The club is prepared to handle up to 300 youngsters and welcome all that want to participate.
For more details, call Blaine Pickavet at 574-344-7709 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.