For The Tribune

Suzanne Bolte and her husband, Chris, took their children to Starve Hollow State Recreation Area on Saturday for the Family Fishing Day.

The weather, however, wasn’t the best for a fishing trip since it rained most of the day and there were even heavy downpours at times.

When one dark storm cloud passed over and brought heavy downpours, Suzanne texted her husband with the idea of bringing an end to the day’s fishing activities and heading to their Seymour home.

He was out on the dock fishing with their two children, Owen, 11, and Jenna, 10, at the time.

“I sent him a text to have him bribe the kids with anything he needed to so we could get out of the rain,” she said with a laugh.

But little did Suzanne know that in the midst of the heavy rain, Jenna would hook one of the biggest fish of the day, a 13¼-inch largemouth bass.

“She was very excited and running down the dock saying, ‘Mom look at this,’” Suzanne said.

Jenna had been reeling in her cast and didn’t realize at first that she had caught a fish.

“I thought it was a weed at first, but my dad told me to keep reeling in,” she said. After realizing she had landed a fish, she became very excited.

“It was really awesome,” Jenna said.

This is the second year the Boltes have taken advantage of the state’s Family Fishing Day, which features events at state parks and recreation areas such as Starve Hollow. Indiana residents older than 18 don’t have to have a license that day, and children under the age of 18 never have to have one to fish.

“The kids like to fish, and we go out on the boat sometimes and they really do enjoy it,” she said.

Chris Bolte also participates in some bass fishing tournaments, so the family is familiar with casting lines.

“They usually fish for crappie and bluegill, stuff like that for fun,” she said.

Sierra Jackson, a naturalist aide at Starve Hollow, organized the event and said 30 children participated in the fishing derby on the 140-acre lake.

The derby is a contest for age groups 5 and under, 6 to 11 and 12 to 16. Each participant received a shirt and tackle box, while those who caught the biggest fish in each age group received a fishing pole.

Jackson said the event is great for families because it can spark an interest in the outdoors and lead to a passionate hobby.

That’s true for Jackson, as she did not enjoy fishing until she participated in the derby as a kid.

“My grandpa loved fishing, and I never was able to, but my cousin and his wife brought me and taught me how to fish,” she said.

Jackson said from then on she was hooked on fishing and does so regularly. She said that is the goal each time they host the event.

“There are too many kids that are in front of a TV or electronics, and it’s great to get them out in the outdoors and ready to explore things,” she said.

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