Nineteen Elite Anglers treated 40 Boys and Girls Club members to a day on the water during the Empire Chase at Lake Erie as part of the Future Fisherman Foundation's "Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs" initiative that offers fishing as an alternative to risky behavior.
The "Angel Anglers" taught the club members angling skills and values while competing against each other. The Boys and Girls Club members were selected based on angling prowess, leadership ability and good behavior.
Elite Series pro Derek Remitz led the winning team with Krysta Johnson and Aaron Patterson, of Sanford/Lee County, N.C., Boys and Girls Club, with five bass weighing 14-pounds, 6-ounces. The weigh-in was broadcast live on the Internet thanks to ESPN.
"Derek showed me how to spot where fish are hiding and how to cast to them so you don't scare them, and that makes catching fish much more fun," Johnson said.
Johnson and Patterson beat 2007 champions Suzette Martinez and Ingrid Camberos of South Bay, Calif., who fished with Steve Kennedy. Martinez and Camberos were featured as 2008 junior instructors thanks to their success last year.
Paul Elias hosted three Club members in his boat, and believes the Future Fisherman Foundation is doing good things for youths.
"They all had a great time. One of the kids got a little seasick, and I offered to take him in several times, but he hung in there," Elias said. "It was a great deal. I would do it again in a heartbeat."
Every contestant left a winner, thanks to sponsors who provided equipment, and the Angel Anglers who shared time, knowledge and mentorship with each youth.
"Although Johnson and Patterson were the official winners of the youth tournament, all of the young anglers returned home with new skills, new equipment, guidance from a mentor and memories that will last a lifetime," said Anne Danielski, executive director of the Future Fisherman Foundation.