REEL ‘EM IN: Local kids get ‘hooked’ on fishing at annual HOFNOD event

Published 1:43 pm Thursday, May 9, 2019

CEDAR CREEK — At the recent Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs (HOFNOD) event, it was hard to tell who was more excited, the kids or the parents, as they fished along the banks of Cedar Creek Lake.

A love for children was the main ingredient at the May 7 fishing outing, and parents, older siblings, family and friends demonstrated that love by bringing kids out for an evening of fishing and fun.

Designed for third- through fifth-graders, the annual HOFNOD program, which was developed by the Future Fisherman Foundation, looks to get children interested in activities that do not involve drugs, and what better gateway to teaching them about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle than developing their angling skills.

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HOFNOD, which is sponsored by Operation Unite and the Lincoln County Safe Communities Coalition, is open to every child in the community. And fishing poles and bait are not required to participate. Children are provided fishing poles and bait as needed and invited to fish.

Many of the kids were elated about the days’ excitement. Some young fishermen beamed proudly as they brought their fish to the scales for weighing, others sprinted to the scales and some just squealed with delight as the words, “I got a fish!” rose from the banks.

The 2019 HOFNOD event drew around 40 children. Around 100 people lined the banks of Cedar Creek with many parents, siblings and friends there to fish and to help and cheer on the children.

“The numbers were down a little from last year, but that was probably due to other sports activities that evening,” said Andrea Miller of the Lincoln County Safe Communities Coalition.

While HOFNOD is designed for third- through fifth-graders, Miller says they never turn anyone away.

Despite lower numbers, Miller said more fish were caught at the May 7 HOFNOD than previous outings.

“We probably had about 20 or more fish caught. That’s more fish than last year, and larger ones, too,” she said.

Prizes were awarded to the girl and boy catching the largest fish. Winning the new fishing poles were Madison Ritchie and Bryson Brown. Weights of the winning fish were not available.

All children who registered for HOFNOD received a goody bag and anti-drug pamphlets and were treated to a free meal of hot dogs, chips, a drink and homemade cookies.

“We were very pleased with the turnout this year,” Miller said. The kids and parents were very appreciative of the opportunity.”