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More than 500 kids expected to cast in fishing derby

The Detroit News

More than 500 youths are expected to become anglers on Saturday when the 19th annual Detroit Fishing Derby gets underway at Lake Frances in Palmer Park.

Spearheaded by Hook, Line and Sinker Inc. and co-sponsored by the Detroit Recreation Department, this free fishing derby will have two sessions in which kids ages 7-14 can participate.

A morning session has a 9 a.m. registration with the event from 10-11:30 a.m. An afternoon session runs from 1-2:30 p.m. with a noon registration.

Participants must be accompanied by an adult, and prizes will be awarded.

The event exposes kids to a sport that isn't commonly shown to inner-city youths, said founder Gary Williams. Every year, Lake Frances is loaded up with approximately 3,000 bluegill, and volunteers teach kids the simple steps of how to fish.

"Our volunteers are critical in teaching young people the basics, like how to hook and toss a line, and overall catching a fish," said Williams, who founded Hook, Line and Sinker Inc. in 1995. "We want to show kids how to engage in positive outdoor experiences, sports and recreational activities."

Kids should bring their own fishing equipment and live bait.

More volunteers are needed. To volunteer, come to Palmer Park's Lake Frances at 8 a.m. Saturday.

This year's sponsors include Detroit Area Steelheaders, Greektown Casino-Hotel, MGM Grand-Detroit, Page Toyota, Safari Club International-Southeast Bowhunters Chapter, UPS and Wayne County Sheriff's Youth and Seniors Fund.

Registration forms for the derby are available at all Detroit recreation centers. For information, call (313) 494-4884 or (313) 224-1129.