The Piedmont Pan Fishers held their second Kids Fishing Day September 19 at Falls Lake to expose youths to the outdoors and fishing.

     Fourteen kids attended along with 10 parents and enjoyed a day of fishing for crappie. Seven members of the club and volunteers donated their time at the Sanderling Beach site and on the water.

     Jim McKinnon, who organized the two events, Jay Coleman and Gary Burke provided pontoon boats.

     "To provide instruction and safety there was a 3-to-1 adult-to-child ratio," McKinnon said.

     Dave Hershey, Nick Hershey, Mike Whitmore, Drew Smith, Charlie Batchelor and Neal Albis provided assistance.

     "We started out the morning with the Falls Lake Park Rangers," McKinnon said. "They gave water safety instructions along with safety games and prizes.

     "We took the kids out on the boats and fished for about three hours. It was a sight to see the kids eyes light up when they caught a fish. Some of them were just as excited to have a boat ride. The water was low so we did not have as good of a catch as we did last year."

      Participants returned for a free lunch Piedmont Panfishers members had grilled for the kids and they enjoyed additional fishing games.

      "At the end of the day with the help of our sponsors we were able to give each kid a rod and reel and a tackle box filled with equipment," McKinnon said. "They also receive fishing towels. One of the kids said 'Is all this for us to keep?' " 

     McKinnon, known as "Jigman Jim," said the purpose of the event was to instill the love of fishing to the next generation and give our kids a clean safe sport to pass on to their kids. 

     "We wanted to provide a fun-filled day on the lake in hopes that they return and make this a part of their life as well as have a hobby to share with parents and family," he said. "A lot of children don't get the opportunity to be exposed to (fishing). Some of our parents are single mothers and we try to teach the parents and children to use this equipment off the bank so they can return for more quality family time."

     McKinnon's guide service often takes fathers and kids to area lakes for a day of fishing.

     "For some families (fishing) isn't something they are aware of or can afford," he said. "Seeing the excitement in kid's eyes made me want to extend this experience to others so I came up with this idea to reach other children. We already have nine children booked for next year and hope to take more children if we can get a few more boater volunteers."

     Sponsors and volunteers included Carolina Game and Fish of Hillsborough, Steve Crawford, Ken Shuler, Jay Garrard, David Wilson, Dan Glosson and Roger Bass

     Anglers wishing to help with the Kids Fishing Day or who want additional information about Piedmont Pan Fishers should contact McKinnon with Piedmont Pan fishers at 919-943-1128 or e-mail him at