When it comes to fishing, Trey Burris can almost do it all.
The 4-year-old Sandusky boy knows his way around a tackle box and usually has no problem handling a slimy, struggling catfish or sheepshead. Issues only arise when a fish has too much fight in it.
"I caught one once and it slipped out of my hands," Trey said.
With each passing year, Trey gets a little bit better at the sport, which equates into a little less help his father, Hollis Burris, has to provide him.
Hollis said he still has to cast the line for his son because Trey will simply throw the rod and that means "dad's swimming out to get it." Sometimes Hollis also has to help with the reeling. That's only because there are fish in Sandusky Bay nearly as strong as Trey.
"There's fish that are weigh as much as him," Hollis said. "The 22-inch sheepshead (he caught last year) was as long as he is."
During the Sandusky Elks Lodge's annual Kids Fishing Derby on Sunday, it was clear Trey wasn't the only fishing-pro-in-the-making at Shoreline Park. About 49 children signed up, many of whom demonstrated patience beyond their years.
Whereas many young children cannot sit still -- which translates into poor fishing technique because they constantly fiddle with their line -- 5-year-old Emma Canino had the activity down pat.
Holding a pink Barbie fishing rod, Emma waited for the fish to come to her. She wasn't going to force it.
Emma's patience has paid off in the past. In the five years her family has taken her to the Elks fishing derby, she's caught a fish every year, even though her father, 32-year-old Kevin Canino, did most of the grunt work for the first few years.
"She does almost everything. She'll pick up the worms. She won't grab the fish (off the hook) ... she's still a girl," her father said.
Barb Deming, 57, of Sandusky helped create the event about 20 years ago. Her husband is a member of the Elks Lodge 285.
The idea was to get kids hooked on fishing instead of drugs, Deming said.
"It's all free. We provide the bait, some of the poles and, in the end, everyone gets a prize just for showing up," she said.
The real payoff, she added, is that these children are introduced to a what hopefully becomes a lifelong passion. If not fishing itself, an appreciation for the outdoors.