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Sgt. 1st Class Edward Bogawitch, 37, of Fulton, N.Y., and his children — Kenneth, 8, and Sharon, 12 — participate in a July Fourth fishing contest at Grafenwöhr, Germany.

Sgt. 1st Class Edward Bogawitch, 37, of Fulton, N.Y., and his children — Kenneth, 8, and Sharon, 12 — participate in a July Fourth fishing contest at Grafenwöhr, Germany. (Seth Robson / S&S)

Sgt. 1st Class Edward Bogawitch, 37, of Fulton, N.Y., and his children — Kenneth, 8, and Sharon, 12 — participate in a July Fourth fishing contest at Grafenwöhr, Germany.

Sgt. 1st Class Edward Bogawitch, 37, of Fulton, N.Y., and his children — Kenneth, 8, and Sharon, 12 — participate in a July Fourth fishing contest at Grafenwöhr, Germany. (Seth Robson / S&S)

Grafenwöhr Elementary School student Nicholas Serrano, 9, proudly displays the Schleie he caught at the contest.

Grafenwöhr Elementary School student Nicholas Serrano, 9, proudly displays the Schleie he caught at the contest. (Seth Robson / S&S)

Steve Whittle, Joint Multinational Training Command deployable range package manager, caught a pair of large carp at the fishing contest.

Steve Whittle, Joint Multinational Training Command deployable range package manager, caught a pair of large carp at the fishing contest. (Seth Robson / S&S)

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — The Grafenwöhr Outdoor Recreation Center held a Fourth of July fishing contest with the hope of getting some 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment soldiers hooked on the outdoors.

Tuesday’s contest drew 28 competitors to Dick Hauter Lake, one of 11 lakes and three fishing streams within the training area that are home to a wide variety of species including brook, rainbow and brown trout; pike; walleye; eel; carp; and catfish.

The goal was to introduce people to fishing in Grafenwöhr and give them a chance to sign up for a three-day fishing course this weekend, said Grafenwöhr Fishing Program director Dale Doeden. The course is mandatory for anyone who wants to obtain a fishing license in Germany, said Grafenwöhr Fishing Program director Dale Doeden.

The Outdoor Recreation Center, which recently won the U.S. Army Europe award for best large recreation program in Europe, also may offer a fall hunting class that would give the Stryker soldiers the chance to get a German hunting license, he added.

Participants in Tuesday’s contest, which was open to non-license holders, appeared to enjoy the on-post fishing despite mixed results.

Vilseck High School student Justin Oney, 17, said all he caught was a small fish the size of his thumb.

“This is the first time I’ve been since I got here two years ago, but I’m getting my fishing license next weekend,” he said.

Oney’s dad, Staff Sgt. Chris Oney, 36, of Fort Knox, Ky., said he already obtained a fishing license through the Outdoor Recreation Center.

“This is a pretty good fishing lake. There’s catfish, trout, carp, perch, pike. All over post is pretty good fishing,” said Oney, who works at Grafenwöhr’s Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

Sgt. 1st Class Edward Bogawitch, 37, of Fulton, N.Y., took his kids — Kenneth, 8, and Sharon, 12 — to the fishing contest.

“We’ve been here two hours. We got a lot of nibbles and there are a lot of fish jumping around but they won’t jump on the hook,” said Fulton as the kids peered into the murky water in search of fish.

By the time the contest finished, the only successful youngster was Grafenwöhr Elementary School student Nicholas Serrano, 9, who caught a small green fish called a Schleie.

The most impressive fish reeled in were a pair of large carp caught by Steve Whittle, Joint Multinational Training Command deployable range package manager.

Whittle, an Englishman who arrived in Grafenwöhr in January, said he fished in England and was keen to try fishing in Germany. But he said he did not like the German rule that forbids catch and release, which was how he fished in England.

To sign up for the fishing class, call the Outdoor Recreation Center at: 475-7402.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.
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