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OUTDOORS: Here’s a way to treat dad, kids

Trace Adkins’ 2011 hit song “Just Fishin’” tenderly told of a young girl and her dad sharing the outdoors.

“And she thinks we’re just fishin,’” is the song’s hook, reflecting her dad’s awareness that time passes quickly, kids grow up and those innocent times of sharing unhurried, quality hours together are all too fleeting.

One insight after 14 years of staging our annual “Take Dad Fishing for Father’s Day” contest, is that children also understand how time sneaks up on them. The quality time they spend often consists more of dad or mom carting the kids around to many events and commitments that compete for family time together.

The young children’s letters are often about “just fishin’” and all the learning and excitement that entails. Older children who enter the contest, though, routinely explain they want to win one of the guided fishing trips with their dad as a way to give something back, to reward those hours when they knew they were on the receiving end of gifts of time and attention.

While we recognize “dad” in the contest’s name, for the last few years we’ve let the young writers also nominate a grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt, mom or anyone else who fills that special role.


Here are the entry rules and a rundown of fishing trips and prizes we’ve lined up thus far for this 15th year.

Time is ticking. Share this contest with youngsters you know and give them an opportunity to enter.

While the contest is tied to Father’s Day, trips are taken on dates arranged between guides and winners. The exception is the winning trip aboard Capt. Ryan Rogers’ Midnight Sun boat, based out of Smith Point Marina in Reedville on June 2.

This is Capt. Ryan’s 14th year of supporting the contest. We usually take 5 to 6 winners fishing on the Chesapeake Bay. Catches have included rockfish, bluefish and croaker. See for more details or call 804/453-5812.

Geico Powersports pro fishing team member Teddy Carr is in his sixth year supporting the contest. See, call 540/735-5391 or email

One winning team will join former Women’s Bassmaster Tour professional and Geico Powersports fishing team member Christie Bradley. Bealeton resident Bradley fishes in national Bassmaster tournaments and many major local events. This is her second year supporting the contest. See

Capt. Tony Harding, specializing in fly fishing and light tackle charters, returns for his 11th year. See his “Latitudes Charters” website at or email him at

King George angler Dan Josselyn returns for a third year in the creeks off the tidal Potomac River. I will also again host a winning team for a low-tech, laid-back adventure on the tidal Rappahannock. The goal is to catch enough catfish for an ample family fish fry.

Supporting the contest again with great fishing lures and hooks is T.J. Stallings of TTI–Blakemore, who will send extra prizes for selected winning teams. Among the company’s product brands are Tru–Turn, Daiichi, XPoint, Mr. Crappie & StandOut Hook Brands and Blakemore–Road Runner Lures.

There are two age categories: 6–9 and 10–13. Children must write, in their own words (up to 250) why they want to take Dad (or a special person) fishing for Father’s Day. Include name, age, phone number and address on the letter so we can notify you if you’re a winner.

Only handwritten entries are accepted. Late submissions cannot be accepted.

Entries must be postmarked no later than May 16. Mail entries to: Perrotte-Fishing Contest, Box 1069, King George, VA 22485. Winners will be notified by phone by May 26.

Entries will not be returned. Please photocopy entries before mailing. Winning letters become property of the contest and may be published.


Virginia’s 2013 Spring Gobbler Season begins April 13 and ends May 18. A special Youth Turkey Hunt Day takes place April 6 for hunters age 15 and younger.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries offers safety reminders for this style of hunting, when everyone is totally camouflaged and doing their best to mimic sound of real turkeys.

1. Never wear white, blue or red clothing. Those are the colors a gobbler’s head can be at this time of year.

2. Wear blaze orange walking to and from calling positions or setting up or moving decoys. A strip of blaze orange tied to a nearby tree or blind alert others of your presence.

3. Choose calling locations providing a backstop as wide as your shoulders and protect you from the top of your head down. Large trees are best. Small trees won’t hide slight hand and shoulder

movements. Other hunters may misinterpret such movement.

4. When choosing calling locations, don’t hide so well that you cannot see what’s going on around you.

5. Never shoot at sound or movement. Only take good, clean shots at legal birds.

6. Never move, wave or make turkey sounds to alert another hunter of your presence. Call out loudly and remain hidden, until the other hunter acknowledges you.

7. Never stalk a turkey. That may be another hunter “gobbling” and those birds could be decoys.

8. Tag your bird before removing it from the place of kill by notching the appropriate tag on your license. Call 1-866/GOT-GAME (468-4263) to check the bird.


Ken Perrotte can be reached at The Free Lance–Star, 616 Amelia Street, Fredericksburg, Va. 22401, by fax at 373-8455 or email at

For more on outdoors things to do around Fredericksburg and the region, sign up for The Free Lance–Star’s newest e-newsletter, Mighty Outdoors, at