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Sponsor a student for this year’s Kids Fishing Derby

September 22, 2009

For the ninth consecutive year, members of the Matlacha Hookers will be living up to their mission, “to make a positive difference in our community,” by presenting one of the island’s most popular fund raising events.

Next month, the Hookers will host the annual PIE Fishing Tournament and Kids Derby offering day-long activities for adults and youngsters alike. In addition to an adult fishing competition, all students of Pine Island Elementary School will be invited to come to the Olde Fish House Marina on Sunday, Oct. 18, to wet a line. All students participating must register prior to the event and pay a $30 entry fee, or $35 for children who live off-island, however, the Hookers are currently seeking sponsors to ensure that all children will have an opportunity to fish on the day of the derby.

“Last year we had 100 kids to fish in the derby and it is our hope that we will have at least that amount this year. What would be really great is to have all of the kids sponsored by donations,” said Lisa Benton, Hooker madame. “It is so heartwarming to see the big smiles on the faces of the children when they catch a fish, and we are very happy to be able to do this for our community each year thanks to the help and support of the businesses and residents here.”

According to tournament co-organizer Nancy Goodwin, this tournament has allowed the Hookers to donate a great deal to the island elementary school and, to date, that amount is over $100,000. Sponsorships also are another way islanders can contribute to the children who attend PIE.

“In the past we have called on sponsorships from local businesses, local organizations and the Pine Island community at large who have helped up to see to it that every Pine Island Elementary student is able to participate,” said Goodwin,. “There is no better feeling than seeing the smiles on the faces of the children while they reel in a fish and anyone wishing to sponsor a child will be greatly appreciated.”

The registration fee not only covers the entry into the derby but also includes a free rod and reel for each child, free bait and tackle during the event, a ribbon of participation and a free meal provided by JD Hollway from the Waterfront Restaurant in St. James City. The children can rely on limited assistance from their parents or an adult volunteer who can bait hooks and remove fish from hooks, but the children must land the fish themselves.

The participating children will be divided into three age group divisions including the Shrimps, ages kindergarten and first grade who will fish from the docks at Olde Fish House from 8 to 10 a.m.; Pinfish for second and third graders who will fish from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; and Sharks which will include fourth and fifth grade students who will fish from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Winners will be awarded with trophies presented to first, second and third place in each division as well a special trophy for the Grand Catch heaviest fish of the day.

The most sought after trophy however is the one presented to the student who catches a fish which looks most like the Pine Island Elementary School principal Rob Mazzoli. There is no limit as to how many fish are caught or the species brought to the scales. The winners will be determined using the combined weight of fish caught by each child.

In addition to fishing for a chance to win a trophy, the children also can have their faces painted, help to create a mosaic which will later be donated to the elementary school, design and paint a T-shirt to keep, have their hair braided, play a game of bean bag toss or participate in a softball throw — all for free. As the children register just before their divisions begin fishing, they will each have a number placed in a drawing for a new bicycle. Bicycles will be awarded to one boy and a girl in the kindergarten through second grade group and one boy and a girl attending third through fifth grade group. Each of the four bicycles to be raffled will also come with size appropriate safety helmets.

To sponsor a child, complete a sponsorship form and send it along with a $30 tax deductible donation to The Matlacha Hookers, P.O. Box 111, Matlacha, FL 33993. Registration forms may also be obtained in Matlacha at Pine Bay Gallery and Gifts, Traders Hitching Post and Seven Seas Bait and Tackle, all located on Pine Island Road. In addition, the Hookers will offer a pre-registration opportunity Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Olde Fish House Marina beginning at 8:30 a.m. for both adult and youth anglers.

For more information, call Darlene Phanco-Snyder at 349-1130, Nancy Goodwin at 283-5651 or Jim Frock at Seven Seas Bait and Tackle at 283-1674 or Sherri Schulte at 282-1105.


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