NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Caroline Apicella has a passion to someday be a dolphin trainer.
The seven-year-old made her mark Saturday with another underwater animal, this one a fish, as opposed to the dolphin, which is a mammal.
Apicella, a first grader, caught the biggest trout at the annual Trout Fishing Contest at Oakwood Park in New Providence. Her fish was an estimated 16-17 inches long. With the catch of the whopper, she won a Kindle Fire and admitted that she let the fish go after catching it.
"I like fishing because it's fun," said Apicella, who said that she gave the Kindle Fire to her 10-year-old brother, Kyle, since she already had one.
For many borough families it is an annual treat to head down to the Oakwood Park pond for a bit of fishing. And several families continued to enjoy the day with fishing even after the 11 a.m. deadline for catching the big ones.
The Trout Fishing Contest comes about this time every year at Oakwood Park as the pond that is also used for ice skating melts and the New Providence Recreation Park stocks it with plenty of trout including six big ones like the one that Apicella caught.
Near Apicella, Matthew Werner was showing off his trout, about a foot long, that won him a fishing pole.
Mike Hand, the president of the local Police Benevolent Association No. 132, said the fishing contest is a fun outing for the area children and their parents to get together, put a couple of worms on hooks and plunk them down into the pond.
"It's great to help out the community," said Hand. PBA No. 132 is the co-sponsor of the contest and contributes the prizes along with the refreshments at the event. The other co-sponsor is the New Providence Recreation Department.
"We stock the pond with plenty of fish and evenly spread it around," said Patty Kummer of the recreation department.
According to Kummer this was the 20th year for the fishing contest and the success of the event continued this year as 50 children pre-registered and a little more than an additional 50 registered on Saturday morning.
The parents could also fish with their children but they need to have a New Jersey Fishing license to be able to catch the trout.
While the pond is annual hole for fishing, the body of water is just around for a couple of more weeks until the recreation department drains it. According to Kummer, the remaining trout are taken out of the pond first and placed in the nearby river.
In addition to Apicella, other winners were Madison Wright, Matthew Melhuish and Matthew Werner, all of whom won a fishing pole.