Like father, like child
There were plenty of fish stories to go around Saturday at Marion County Park and Lake when Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church held their annual fishing event. Dylan Wiens almost caught a bass in the heated fishing dock, but it spit out the hook while jumping out of the water and the lure stuck to the top of the building.
Henry Hein hooked a drum and two sun perch to total the most fish caught by one person. Brook Bradford may have caught the largest fish of the event — a 20-inch catfish — and Mackenzie Lingenfelter celebrated his birthday expertly unhooking snags and saving hooks for his friends.
But Olivia Jury netted the biggest catch of the day — her dad, Steve, changed jobs just to be able to spend more time with her at their favorite activity, fishing.
“This is what it is all about,” Steve Jury said. “The important thing is to spend time together with your children, even if you are just sitting here watching the water.”
Father of three, including two grown sons, Jury said his former job required him to be apart from his family for long hours.
“I was a milk hauler,” he said. “I was gone a lot, usually left at 7 a.m. and didn’t get back until 7 p.m. There definitely wasn’t time for fishing.”
Jury recently changed jobs and now works for Countryside Feed in Hillsboro. The change gave him weekends and evenings to enjoy with his family, especially his daughter, 10-year-old Olivia.
“I really like fishing with my dad,” she said. “It’s so nice out here. I like looking at the water, and sometimes I get a bite.”
Olivia also said she was glad her dad could help her bait her hooks.
“I can get the worms,” she said. “But they feel really jiggly and weird. I do not like to put them on the hook. My dad does that.”
Dylan Wiens, age 12, took casting lessons from his dad, Greg, on Saturday, but he baited his own hooks, and personally retrieved his lure from the top of the heated dock.
“I wasn’t going to leave my lucky lure up there,” he said. “I had to go get it.”
Dylan’s friend, 9-year-old Henry Hein, explained exactly how Dylan scrambled up the side of the heated dock, complete with facial expressions and comical actions, but he was all seriousness when it came to sharing fishing knowledge.
“I go fishing every chance I get,” Hein said. “My dad has been real busy with harvest this week, but we camped out overnight and had time to fish today.”
Hein said he used minnows to catch catfish, worms for bluegill and drum, and one of four poles depending on his mission.
“For the casting contest today, I like the Bait Cast because it has a button release,” he said. “But for casting out here on the lake and fishing I am using the Flip Cast.”
Brook Bradford said he fished every weekend with his dad, Bill, because it was just about the most fun thing to do, unless it was hunting season.
“I really enjoy being outdoors,” Bradford said. “My dad and me, we go hunting for deer, elk, turkey, pheasant, quail and such, but I really enjoy fishing in the summer.”
Bradford said the best times to catch fish were before and after a storm.
“You have to watch out for lightning,” he said. “But when the weather is disturbed is when they are really biting.”
Bradford said he would fish every day, all day, if he could, always looking to catch “the big one.”
“Once my dad caught a five-foot-long blue cat,” he said. “I’m looking to get something like that, or bigger.”
While Bradford settled for a 20-inch catfish on Saturday, Mackenzie Lingenfelter said he could not think of a better way to celebrate his 12th birthday.
“I’m here with my step-dad and I’m out here fishing. This is the best.”