The big one that got away on purpose

Posted: Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Introducing kids to sport fishing as well as the rewards of catch and release fishing were the goals of the Kenai River Professional Guides Association when they took Caring For The Kenai semi-finalists for a free fishing day a few weeks ago.

Great Bear Ford offered $25 cash to any student who chose to release their fish, and Mike Dinkel of American Trophy Taxidermy contributed a reproduction fish mount, valued at $1,000, for the largest fish caught and released.

Last week Megan Kennedy of Nikiski, and Jeremiah Taylor of Soldotna, were presented their awards on a sunny afternoon at Great Bear Ford in Soldotna. It was Megan' first time to ever fish the Kasilof, "It was exciting, I was surprised that I had one on, and I let it go because I wanted the $25 dollars, but I had no idea it would be the largest one released," said Kennedy.

These are exactly the type of activities we liked being involved with said Bob Bambace of Great Bear Ford, "Next year I think we'll double reward for catch and release for the kids to $50.00." Joe Connors, president of the Professional Guides Assoc, said he believed that the guides had as much fun fishing with the kids as the kids did catching the fish, and that they want to do it again next year. The prize-winning fish was caught on the Kasilof, but with water conditions improving on the Kenai River, fishing is expected to be improving as well.

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