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Small fry, large fish

EAST MANATEE

Before starting his classes Wednesday, 8-year-old Jake Cullen did something that would make any angler proud. He caught a two-pound bluegill in one of the lakes in his Country Oaks neighborhood.

Far from a world record, the bluegill is still a large fish for its species. Many adult bluegills weigh one-quarter to one-half pound.

“Look at the bobber, it’s going in circles,” Jake told his dad, Scott Cullen, before setting his hook. “At first we thought it was a minnow being chased by a bass.”

Jake caught his prize bluegill on a rod and reel he won Saturday at the fifth annual Lakewood Ranch Anglers Club Youth Tournament at Summerfield Lake.

Jake won the 5- to 8-year-old category, and also caught the largest fish among the 90 anglers taking part in the catch-and-release tournament.

Other winners at the Lakewood Ranch tournament were Cody Martineau in the 9- to 11-year-old age group, and Kaitlyn Alvarez in the 12-and-older group, said Lori Basilone, Lakewood Ranch community activities manager.

“A 2-pound bluegill is like a 12-pound bass. It’s an awesome fish,” said Red Bailey, president of the Lakewood Ranch Anglers Club. “What bait did he catch it on?”

For the record, it was a worm.

In January, Jake won his Cub Scout tournament at Fort DeSoto Park in January, said his mother, Melissa H. Cullen. “Jake loves to fish.

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