WARREN, NJ - This year, Warren Township Recreation Commission kicked off their 30th Annual fishing derby by honoring Bruce Vitale for 30 years of dedicated service for starting and continuing to run the township fishing derby. Bruce wanted to share his love of the outdoors and fishing with the children and parents. And he wanted to make it free so every resident could participate. So what better way to do that then to start a fishing derby with the blessing of the Warren Township Committee.
Over the years, Bruce enlisted others to help make it an event you don’t want to miss, starting with The Warren Blue Ridge Sportmens Club who bring with them 30 volunteers and 450 hot dogs & burgers, 16 pounds of zeppoles and 10 gallons of Italian ice. The Club also helps kids fix their hooks, lines and bobbers and offers loaner poles for those who don’t have one. They raffle off several poles, reels and tackle boxes during the derby. Bruce and the club walk around the pond teaching the kids and parents how to cast.

 This year The Warren PBA Local #235 became a huge sponsor by donating the fish and also sending five police officers to help with registration and handing out bags and hats. The 200 hats were donated by Brian Vitale who has contributed for many years.  Back this year was the NJ Wildlife and Fish Hatchery, Ron Jacobsen who did a show and tell for the children. Finally, the past two years the Bounce Factory has helped by sponsoring the drinks while Bob Marino added music to the event. Efingers Sporting Goods store generously donated fishing poles again this year.  It’s a huge team effort and it all started with one man and his love of fishing and the outdoors.

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The 2015 winners are:


Overall Grand Prize winner: Jack Merklinger​ -23 inch Catfish (this is the 3rd year he has won the grand prize)

5-6 year olds
Vienna Downing​ - 22 inch Catfish
Tyler Abeles​ -16 inch Catfish

7-8 year olds
Amanda Smith​ -17 1/2 inch Catfish
Zoey Gallic​ -10 inch Bass
9-10 year olds
Braden Fenton​ -17 inch Bass
David Dubas​ -11 inch Calico
11-12 year olds
Joseph Merklinger​ -21 1/2 inch Catfish
Ryan Hardy​ -21 inch Cat fish
13-14 year olds​​
Arden Dettling​ -22 inch Catfish
Haen Bennete​ - 7 ½ Bluegill
The Recreation Department would like to thank Bruce & Brian Vitale, Bounce Factory, PBA Local #235, Warren Blue Ridge Sportsmens Club, Bob Marino, The Rotary Club, Dunkin Donuts in Warren and all the other volunteers who helped serve the food, hand out bait and pick up garbage. It was another great event because of you!

Check back for more photos.