GREEN BROOK, NJ – Dozens of young anglers – along with their parents and grandparents – gathered at the pond behind the firehouse on April 22 for the Green Brook PBA’s annual Fishing Derby.

“The turnout was really good and I am happy so many people came out,” said Green Brook Police Officer and Local 398 member Randy Stratton. “The kids are having fun and some even caught some big ones.”

Two days prior to the derby, members of Local 398 stocked the pond with 150 mixed trout ranging from 6- to 12-inches; several larger trout, around 18- to 24-inches, were also placed in the pond. Among those lucky enough to reel in one of the larger trout was 7-year-old Chelsea Coffin.

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“I like fishing,” said Chelsea, who attended the derby with her dad and younger siblings, adding that she didn't want to keep it. “I threw it back in because I wanted other people to have a chance to catch it.”

Bill, a resident of Green Brook, saw the derby as an opportunity to teach his three children, ages 7 and under, about fishing. “This is a good event,” said Bill. “It gives families something to do and offers kids the chance to learn about fishing, especially catch and release.”

 Green Brook Police Officer Chris Dill, who brought his two children, Kyleigh, 5, and Brayden, 4, added, “They have been itching to go fishing with me and this was a perfect opportunity to see if they like it,” said Dill.

 Throughout the morning, members of the Local 398 were on hand, serving up coffee, which was donated by Starbucks of Green Brook, and bagels. Additionally, all children received a red sling backpack, courtesy of the PBA.

Following the derby, families were treated to burgers and hotdogs purchased and grilled up by Green Brook resident Scott Rieger. “It’s for the kids. I like to see them enjoying the outdoors and doing stuff rather than getting into trouble or sitting in front of a video game,” said Rieger, adding that he is happy to support the PBA. “I believe in all that they do.”

For members of the PBA, events such as the fishing derby provide an opportunity for the police and community to interact “Events like this are good for us. Gets the PBA out there and its something for the kids,” said Dill. “We are happy to show our support for the community."

Stratton agrees. “This is something that gets us involved with the community and gets the community out and involved with us. A little face-to-face with our residents never hurt.”

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