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Middletown Transcript
  • Hook, line and winner: Local 14-year-old wins back-to-back state fishing tournaments

  • This summer, Emma Griffith won her a second statewide title and third-straight county title at the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife's Youth Fishing Tournament.
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  • When it comes to fishing, Emma Griffith likes to keep it simple.
    "You don't need any of that fancy equipment or those expensive outfits like you see them wearing on TV," she said. "All you need is a rod, a bobber, a hook, a line and my dad's three P's: preparation, patience and persistence."
    The 14-year-old Middletown resident certainly appears to have cracked the code for getting fish to bite.
    This summer, her less-is-more approach earned her a second, consecutive statewide title and third-straight county title at the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife's Youth Fishing Tournament.
    From her favorite spot on the shore of Lum's Pond near Bear, Griffith managed to beat out nearly 200 other anglers between the ages of 4 and 15 who were simultaneously fishing in all three Delaware counties.
    By the time the June 8 catch-and-release tournament came to a close, Griffith had reeled in close to 8 pounds of fish in just four hours – almost a full pound more than the second place finisher.
    "I think it ended up being, like, close to 50 fish," she said. "The hardest part is that when you catch one you have to sprint to the weigh station, which was about a quarter-mile away. It doesn't sound that far, but when you're carrying a bucket full of water and fish in your hand, it can seem a lot longer."
    To be fair, Griffith says her dominance at the tournament didn't happen overnight.
    She first took up a rod and reel at the tender age of 2, under the tutelage of her father, Jeff, an occupational therapist at the Wilmington Veterans Administration Medical Center in Elsmere.
    Three years later, she entered the tournament for the first time and the following year she won first place in her age group.
    "I was more amazed that as a 6-year-old sat there and fished the whole time, instead of getting bored and giving up," said Jeff, who has sat beside his daughter at each of her tournaments. "Emma is tenacious and when she sets her mind on something, there a few things that can stop her."
    Although Griffith said fishing is among her favorite activities, it's far from the only thing keeping her busy these days.
    The St. Anne's Episcopal School graduate is heading into ninth grade at the Sanford School in Hockessin this fall, where she will play volleyball, baseball and winter track. She's also recently taken up ice hockey and sings in her own six-piece rock band called "Asian Zing," which will next perform this Saturday at a fundraiser for melanoma research her family holds every year at their home in the Lea Eara Farms neighborhood, just south of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.
    Page 2 of 2 - "To be honest, I don't even like to eat fish," she said. "Fishing is just something fun that I like to do to sort of clear my mind, and, of course, whenever we go on vacation, we go camping and spend the entire time fishing. It's kind of like a family tradition."
    Griffith said she hopes to continue that tradition when she has children of her own.
    "My grandmother really likes to fish and my mom does too, but you don't see too many moms fishing," she said. "I'd like to be able to teach my kids someday and then hopefully go on fishing trips with my parents and my brother Sam and his family."
    In the meantime, Griffith said she plans to compete in the annual tournament again next year – her final year of eligibility.
    "Hopefully, I'll be able to make it three in a row but I think it gets harder every year," she said. "I haven't really thought about competing in other tournaments after that, but maybe after I'm not eligible, it will give my brother a chance to start winning. That would be great."
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