Cops and Bobbers

Hundreds of North Bergen kids go fishing with township police officers

On a sunny Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of North Bergen children of all ages went to Woodcliff Lake in Braddock Park to cast some lines.

More than a dozen North Bergen police officers, counselors from the township’s summer recreation program, and members of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spent the afternoon of July 24 fishing the stocked lake along with kids enrolled in the Recreation Department’s summer program. Kids were divided into groups throughout the day. The “Cops and Bobbers” event was a tutorial on basic catch-and-release rules that might spark a lifelong hobby for prospective fishers.

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Representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were on hand with rods, line, and bait. They taught the fundamentals of catch-and-release fishing, and made sure everything went without a hitch as the catches of the day were reeled in.

Cops and the community 

Dozens of turtles were swimming about. Fish and Wildlife made sure that turtles inadvertently snagged on a hook were able to swim away relatively unscathed. They also set up an archery station, where a crowd lined up to practice their shots.

Recreation Commissioner Hugo Cabrera said that the event, which was launched last year, will likely be a summer tradition.

“It all started when officers in the police department wanted to get involved with a summer activity,” Cabrera said. “Since the lake was getting stocked, we went out and got some fishing rods, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Reserve came in with even more supplies. For a lot of these kids, it’s the first time they’re getting their hands on a fishing rod. Some of them, after the experience, want to go back, and they’ll know just how to do it in the county park.”

For the police officers who attended, the event was one of many community outreach opportunities, where the officers could establish themselves as familiar faces with a number of residents at once.

“It brings the police officers together with kids, to show them that they can always talk with police officers,” Cabrera said. “It’s important for these officers to be seen as a friendly face, and this event is one of many that helps make that happen.”

For updates on this and more stories check hudsonreporter.com or follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Mike Montemarano can be reached at mikem@hudsonreporter.com.

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