17th Jul, 2010

Fishing with the Browns’ Joe Thomas

Joe Thomas Browns fishing derby WestlakeThis morning, we attended the 2nd annual Joe Thomas Fishing Derby, held at the Westlake Recreation Center’s five-acre lake. What a great event this is—300 kids, their parents or grandparents, and one of the most genuine professional sports players you’re likely to encounter.

All the kids got free fishing rods, tackle boxes, bait, t-shirts, etc. Prizes were awarded for the first fish caught, the largest fish caught and the smallest fish caught. As luck would have it, a little boy right next to Josh—whose line was about 2 feet away from his—caught the first fish. But Josh did win one of the 15 door prizes, a nice collection of lures and an Applebees gift certificate, and he couldn’t have been happier.

The weather was less than ideal this year—temperatures hovered in the low 90s and there were only high, scattered clouds. And given that the derby itself started at 8:15 a.m. and ran for three hours, my little guy was over-broiled after a couple of hours. So we cheated and snuck out for 30 minutes for a milk run to McDonalds, enjoying the air conditioning the entire way (we’d run out of bait as it was).

Josh ended up catching just one little sunfish, but that was better than last year, when he didn’t catch a thing. It’s really surprising for my little fisherman, as he does a great job fishing the little 1/2-acre lake next to our home. I will say that the fish were biting a lot more this year and they cleaned up on stealing our worms without getting hooked. An enormous snapping turtle stole the show for a while in our section of the pond, attacking one unlucky fish and slowly feasting on it over the course of 20 or 30 minutes.

Thomas is a genuinely likable guy and walked the whole perimeter of the lake over the course of the event, visiting with the kids and the adults, signing autographs and having his picture taken. Just as at last year’s event, he was very approachable and took a real interest in helping the kids—and share his passion of fishing.

John “Big Dawg” Thompson, the Dog Pound superfan, was in attendance, roaming the shore wielding his enormous bone and wearing his #98 jersey along with dog mask and orange hard hat. We had a great chat (about snapping turtles, of all things!) and I give him credit for wearing that mask for the kids. As hot as I thought I was, I know it had to be about 120 degrees under that rubber getup!

The day ended with catering from sponsor Fahrenheit (delicious!) and the raffle of door prizes. All in all, I give Joe Thomas and the people at MAR Sports Marketing a lot of credit for this great family event. We can’t wait for next year!


This is my son’s second year going and he had a great time!

I might take up fishing to get my photo taken with the big hunky guy. :)

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