Tuesday, April 29, 2014 3:45 pm. Kids lined the banks of Laurel Fork Creek behind Rocky Gap High School on Saturday, April 26, for the Bland County Many Beards National Wild Turkey Federation Chapter's JAKES Annual Kids Free Fishing Day.
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"We had a great day" said Chapter President Randy Kiser. "The weather was perfect, the food was great and the turnout was awesome."
The Free Fishing Day was hosted in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Conservation Police Officer Wes Billings and his dog Josie spent the day talking with the 105 kids who registered for the event.
"I enjoyed talking with the kids and their families today and explaining Josie's role in enforcement," Billings said.
The kids really liked hearing about how Josie helped Billings find fish the evening before that a fisherman had hidden because he had caught more than his limit.
Thanks to the generosity of more than 50 individuals and three businesses, more than 100 fishing poles were given away as door prizes.
Austin Horn of Tazewell won the Biggest Fish Contest by reeling in a 20 1/4 inch trout.
Setting Up Your Fishing Pole Clinics were held throughout the event headed up by volunteers Lawrence Scott and Dusty Kiser.
At another station, kids were invited to dig their own worms from see-through plastic bins. Volunteers Destiny Hagy and Mike DeWilde from the Bland County Senior Citizens answered questions about the worms, their composting abilities and why worms are good for the soil.
JAKES is for the youth members of the National Wild Turkey Federation. The Bland NWTF Chapter hosts two events each year so kids can experience the outdoors in a variety of ways including fishing.