Youth Education Report

by Greg Kucharewski
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association June 2019 Newsletter)
Educational Programs

Summer programs for adults and children at Sedge Island are offered by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation (CWF) of NJ, and a partner with the NJ DEP in many management, research and educational programs. Programs range from fishing to kayaking to professional development workshops for teachers.

To learn more, visit the CWF's Sedge Island page.

National Fishing & Boating Week

NF&BW Free Fishing Day in New Jersey is Saturday June 8, 2019. Residents and non-residents may fish the public waters of New Jersey without a license or trout Stamp. All other regulations apply. For those anglers just starting out, the Division of Fish and Wildlife offers many programs and classes to advance from beginner to expert. The Pequest State Trout Hatchery in Oxford, Warren County offers free fishing programs. Pequest offers a Natural Resource Education Center with a variety of exhibits and displays on wildlife, a butterfly garden, picnic areas and hiking trails. There is also a handicapped-accessible fishing site along the Pequest River.

Sign up for one of the Youth Fishing Challenges. It’s a statewide event to promote fishing among youths and their families. It will be held on the first of the state's two Free Fishing Days, Saturday, June 8th, when no license is required to fish regardless of age.

Registered youth participants will be eligible to receive prizes for the fish they catch during the event. Youths must be present at the conclusion of the event to be awarded prizes. Those who are lucky enough to catch a trout tagged as part of the "Hook-A-Winner" Program will receive a special prize following the event. Organizations interested in hosting an event, and individuals interested in volunteering at an event, should complete and submit an application form: Organization/Volunteer Application Forms are available online. Questions can be directed to


The Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs Program's Youth Fishing Challenge is a statewide event to promote fishing among youths and their families. The Hooked On Fishing-Not On Drugs, Youth Fishing Challenge is Saturday, June 8, 2019. It is being held on the first of the state's two Free Fishing Days, Saturday, June 8, when no license is required to fish regardless of age. "Hook-A-Winner" Program Program will receive a special prize following the event. For more information and to register your group location visit: Youth Fishing Challenge.

Kid’s Spend the Day Learning and Fishing

Don’t miss this opportunity to go fishing and learn about aquatic education. The International Game Fish Association will sponsor FREE sessions to learn about conservation and party boat fishing. Location is 1623 Whitesville Rd. Toms River, NJ. Parents, a $25 refundable deposit will reserve a spot for each youngster. Event Days: On Saturday, August 3rd, 9am-3pm free sessions and lunch is included. Children will learn about conservation, watershed management, responsible angling, marine life biology, and environmental impacts. Attendance is required to participate in the fishing day segment on Wednesday, August 7th, 8am-4pm, the Bingo fishing boat in Atlantic Highlands. Lunch is provided along with bus transportation from Ocean County Agricultural Center. Space is limited so sign up as soon as possible. Phone: 732-349-1227 and register.

Collaborators are: American Littoral Society, NJ Department of Environmental Protection, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, and Ocean County 4-H.

Gloucester NJ HOFNOD Catfish Tournament

Gloucester NJ HOFNOD will hold its Ray Curry Catfish tournament for kids on June 8, 2019 at River Winds in West Deptford, NJ. Robert Johnston is the HOFNOD Gloucester Township director. If you would like to enter or support this program, please contact Robert at his number 856-491-5366, or visit this link at

Hudson River Fishing Associations June Youth Programs

June 6th - Special Needs Children of Bergen County, June 12th - Special Needs fishing Bergen County at Englewood. Please visit their website for more information:

Play Hook-e Take a Veteran Fishing

On Saturday, May 4, 2019, Mr. Vito Cardinale, CEO/President Cardinale Enterprises LLC, hosted the 3nd Annual “Play HOOK-e” Take A Veteran Fishing Day to honor veterans. The concept for the fishing day was born several years ago by Mr. Cardinale and Don Marantz, Jersey Coast Anglers Association knowing that veterans with PTSD and physical disabilities needed a calm outdoor setting to relax with other veterans. The duo worked together to contact friends, veteran organizations, and groups that support veterans. In just three years the “Play HOOK-e” Fishing Day at Lake Julianna has grown to be a favorite outdoor event for veterans to attend and be honored.

This year’s event was attended by over 100 with volunteers from several counties in New Jersey. Veterans traveled from New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland to fish with a wartime buddy at Lake Julianna. There was a World War II veteran fishing next to Korean War veterans both dropping a line to catch some nice size largemouth bass. Two veterans met lakeside were from the same Parris Island Platoon 1051, serving in the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) and stated, “There are very few of us left.” The day was filled with many surprises and veteran Joe Morrison’s wife stated, “It made my heart sing to see my husband smiling and enjoying time with other veterans.” There was plenty of fishing action for everyone to enjoy and volunteers taught fly casting, spin casting, and terminal tackle tips to catch that fish of a lifetime.

Due to the amount of interest, the veteran fishing day has expanded to veterans helping special needs children at Lake Julianna. This September, Mr. Cardinale will host the 3rd Annual “Kids Wish’n To Go Fish’n” Fun Day, where veterans become volunteers that help special needs and disabled children fish at the lake. The original idea of fishing at Lake Julianna has really changed for the two user groups that merged to actually help one another go fishing and relax while enjoying the peaceful surroundings of Lake Julianna. Veterans and guests are always welcome to sit and have a BBQ/Pizza lunch compliments of Vito Cardinale Family, Randy Johnson Family and Danny Black Family. Vito’s family and friends work hard to honor our veterans by preparing and serving food.

Contributors for this year’s event has grown and included Jersey Coast Anglers Association, The Fisherman Magazine, East Gate Nursery, Bill-Jim Construction Co., SFC Enterprises, PDR designs LLC, Tom Zapcic Photography, Top shelf nursery, My 3 Sons HVAC, All Occasion Limousine, Sea Coast Chevrolet, Wood Fire Pizza/Blackie’s Welding Service and Lauretta Winery.

Many organizations/businesses contributed and came out to volunteer and show support for our veterans, New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen Clubs, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Jersey Shore Chapter, Spring Lake Freezer, Bimbo Bakeries USA, The Reel Seat, Fisherman's Den, Bagel Bistro, Captain Cals, Norma K III, Immediate Care, JB's Diner, Press Communications, LLC, Tractor Supply, Chuck Phillips, Bogan's Bait & Tackle, Gabriel Bait & Tackle CO., Jersey Hooker Outfitters, The Tin Man, Bill Marantz, Boating Education and Rescue, Howling Woods Farm dog/wolves, 100.1 WJRZ, MA 22 Restore the Warrior, Central Jersey Rifle and Pistol Club Warrior Program, Jersey Shore Surfcasters, New Jersey Elks, Trout Unlimited, Newark Bait and Fly Casting Club, New Jersey Beach Buggy Association, Hoof Prints on the Heart, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 12 and several other veterans organizations.

Veterans Jim Velcheck and Craig Hasbrouck Veterans Jim Velcheck and Craig Hasbrouck, Parris Island Platoon 1051 wear their veteran caps proudly with event contributors.
Newark Bait and Fly Casting Club

Play HOOK-e at the 2nd Annual NB&FCC Disabled Veterans Fishing Trip will be on the Mi-JO II and will be leaving the dock at 7:00 A.M. and returning approximately 2:00 P.M. on Friday June 21, 2019. The Mi-Jo II is located on the long dock behind the restaurant restrooms upon entering the municipal parking lot. Lunch and drinks will be provided for Veterans (bagels, subs, salads, etc.). Note that this is a rain or shine trip so everyone should be prepared. Contact Rich MacDonald at 973-204-4073 or email Rich MacDonald to make a reservation. Note that reservations will be limited to 30 veterans.

Jenna’s Reel Warriors – Highlands

Jenna’s Reel Warriors is off to a great start this fishing season we had a total of 9 “Play HOOK-e” combat veterans aboard Jenna's Reel Warriors, Scott Policastro, President/ Captain of Jenna's P II Sportfishing out of Highlands, NJ. Captain Scott donates his time and services and was able to connect veterans with plenty of fish. The first trip caught 13 Striped Bass, the second trip was a mixed bag of Bluefish and Sea Bass. If you are or know a combat veteran suffering from PTSD/disabled veteran interested in a fishing trip at no cost, please visit Jenna's Reel Warriors. Scott and his family honor our veterans. Their goal is to provide combat veterans with an enjoyable stress-free day on the water, only fighting fish. Anglers must be a military veteran and a military I.D. is required to participate.

Jenna’s Reel Warriors
2nd Annual Veteran Fishing & Boating Challenge

Boating Education and Rescue along with Barnegat Bay Boat Captains will host the 2nd Annual Veteran Fishing & Boating Challenge at Foresberg’s Boat Works, Point Pleasant, NJ.

The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 12 “Play HOOK-e” Take a Veteran Fishing program, JCAA, and MA Deuce Deuce, are supporting this worthwhile event for our heroes. The Veteran fishing and boating challenge will be held on Saturday, July 27, 2019. Veterans will be paired with participating boat captains out of Point Pleasant, NJ.

Mike and Debbie Bennett, Boating Education and Rescue (B.E.A.R.) are the organizers of this fun fishing day on the water with Barnegat Bay boat captains. Veterans will enjoy a friendly fishing competition among veterans to catch Bluefish and Fluke in Manasquan River and Barnegat Bay.

Veterans must register to fish on assigned boats and each veteran will be eligible for door prizes and goodie bags. There will be rod and reel prizes for the largest Bluefish and Fluke. Loaner rods and reels will be available for veterans that do not have fishing equipment. Bait will be provided. Boat Captains and veterans are welcome to join the fun, win prizes, and have a chance to enjoy some BBQ/homemade food.

The “Play HOOK-e” Take a Veteran Fishing and Boating Challenge is geared towards veterans struggling with PTSD & TBI but other veterans are welcome to register. The goal is to connect veterans to VA Service Offices/Outreach Centers, NJ Coastal Parks, Outdoor Clubs, Veteran Organizations, and help Veteran men and women take time to heal by utilizing eco-therapy activities with other veterans.

To register, please phone Greg at 732-785-9278 or email

Registered veterans will receive email instructions about parking, start-time, and what is needed to have a safe time on the water.