The free National Wild Turkey Federations' JAKES program for youngsters offers great outdoors learning sessions
Now that school is out and you have youngsters that may be into ball sports or addicted to video games, their smartphones and iPads, it may be a good idea to give them a more rounded, different experience by enrolling them in the upcoming National Wild Turkey Federations (NWTF), JAKES Youth Field Day set for August 3.
The event, held at Ontelaunee Rod & Gun Club in New Tripoli, educates approximately 150 children, ages 8-12 and 12-16.
The JAKES program (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) has 10 learning stations that include archery, canoeing, fishing, NWTF’s take aim, safety, 22 shooting, trapping and more.
The more advanced Xtreme’s sessions are tailored for those in the 12-16 age class. This class is limited to 50 youngsters and includes several additional learning stations such as blood trailing, tree stand safety and shooting .223 rifles instead of smaller caliber .22s.
According to Lee Creyer, NWTF volunteer, the child must have at least one year in the JAKES program before enrolling in the advanced Xtreme’s sessions.
The program is free to all participants and each child will receive a complimentary T-shirt with lunch being included.
If interested in enrolling your youngster(s), email Creyer at email@example.com. Include the children’s name, age, address, phone number, T-shirt size, chaperone name (Mandatory unless in the same family), names of preferred other youth groups in same group and number of years of prior attendance, if any.
After registration, Creyer said you will receive a release form that needs to be signed and returned. Once received, registration on the day of the event begins at 7 a.m. with the day’s activities beginning at 8 a.m. and concluding at approximately at 5 p.m.
In a phone interview, Creyer remarked that over half of his current entrants have never attended a JAKES program. An encouraging sign.
With seemingly constant rain, this has been a bad stream and river fishing season. Best bets are lakes and ponds. And with bass season now open, you should concentrate your efforts on big waters like Ontelaunee Reservoir and Blue Marsh Lake in Berks County, Beltzville and Mauch Chunk lakes in Carbon, Lake Nockamixon in Bucks and Lake Wallenpaupack in Pike County. There’s also Lehigh County’s own Leaser Lake that is strictly catch-and-release on all species except for trout.
Incidentally, the hot trout bait right now is Berkley’s PowerBait worms in Bubblegum flavor. According to Willie Marx at Willie’s Bait & Tackle in Cementon, they also work well on Lehigh River smallmouth bass.
On the saltwater scene, northern New Jersey stripers are still being caught on the beaches, with a blitz occurring in the Deal surf for anglers using peanut bunker. Blue fish, in the 5-10-pound range, are popping up around the point at Sandy Hook and Keansburg Pier. Around Sea Bright, small bass and blues are falling for worms, sand crabs and bunker chunks. There’s also some black drum showing up in the surf.
Big blues are lingering in the Shrewsbury and Neversink rivers and fluke fishing is improving in both waters.
In Long Branch, keeper fluke are being hooked in the surf on bucktails tipped with Gulp teasers, SP minnows, Shads and Red Fin lures.
If you want really big fish, On the Water magazine reports offshore anglers are catching good eating bluefin and yellowfin tuna along with some sizable mahi-mahi.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.