Lake Guntersville Bassmasters pro Dennis Morgan of Huntsville helps some boy scouts at a recent Bassmaster CastingKids competition.
CastingKids competition makes for busy day for children, anglers
By Paul Stackhouse
Don Gowen found himself in a pleasant predicament recently at Point Mallard Park.
As Alabama’s director of the Bassmaster Federation Nation, the Decatur resident has helped to put on many Bassmaster CastingKids competitions in past years. But as he and members of the Lake Guntersville Bassmasters and local pro Ed Guice found out, working an event with an entire Boy Scout group can tire out the average angler.
In addition to Gowen and Guice, other anglers who gave their time were Dennis Morgan, Jason Hall, Roger Pearson and Blake Gowen.
Gowen said that the CastingKids day may have set a record.
“I talked with scout leader Mike Ponder about doing this,” Gowen said. “And we did it. We also may have established a new record for participation. We had a total of 154 in the 7-10 age group, eight in the 11-14 age group and 32 that were either under seven or over 14 who are not eligible. Our guys were worn out — but pleased because we made over 190 kids happy.”
In the 11-14 age group, Conner Mitchell of Somerville and Julian Lucky of Hartselle were locked in a tie. Mitchell won the tiebreaker round and finished in first place. In the 7-10 age group, Julian Lucky of Athens finished in first.
The winners received new rod and reels and a BASS CastingKids medallion.
“Everybody in this group were winners,” Gowen said. “Besides the prizes the winners got, we also gave out certificates of competition, door prizes, models of bass boats and Jason and Ed handed out some hats and visors they received through their sponsors. We really appreciate all the help from the Scout leaders and parents.
Gowen said that CastingKids and the Junior Bassmaster Club programs are administered through the state organizations such as the Alabama BASS Federation Nation.
“In a little over 13 years of existence, BASS CastingKids has reached almost two million children and given away over $3 million in cash, prizes and scholarships,” Gowen said.
The children are taught to use three different types of fish-casting techniques, which are flipping, pitching and casting. After the students become interested in practicing these techniques on their own, the gateway to fishing has been established, and the CastingKids goal has been put into play.
“In these programs, we try to involve youth in fishing and showing concern for the outdoors,” he said.
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