Smokey leads the way at the Boy Scout Fishing Day competition

Professional bass fisherman Chris Nickerson helps this Boy Scout out with his casting at the Boy Scout Fishing Day sponsored by Boy Scout Pack 53 and the American Legion at Golden Era Productions private lake in San Jacinto, Saturday, Nov. 9. Tony Ault photo

Smokey Bear from the U.S. Forest Service was a big presence at the Boy Scout Fishing Day Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Golden Era Productions bass lake, sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 53 with the Hemet American Legion Post.

Smokey, a visitor to Cal Fire San Jacinto Station 25, helped the more than 100 Cub Scouts and Boy Scout troop members catch and release dozens of fast-biting largemouth bass. Smokey is a natural fisherbear after all and brought along the help of professional bass fishermen Chris Nickerson from Hemet and Bobby Swartwood from Phelan who spent the morning untangling fishing lines, baiting hooks and giving helpful advice to the hopeful young anglers.

Four weigh-in tables surrounded the lake, manned by Hemet and San Jacinto Post 53 Legionnaires and Golden Era Production volunteers who carefully weighed each bass caught by the Boy Scouts. The largest weighed in at a 4.7 pound whopper. Cub Scout Ka’Marionah Milazzo hauled in the big fish with only a little help and won the Cub Scout trophy. Her brother Tyrie Milazzo from Troop 310 pulled out a 3.9 pounder as parents Kenneth King and Scoutmaster Angela Milazzo watched.

Russ Mills, Area 5 scouting commissioner for the American Legion, said there were five Boy Scout Troops and eight Cub Scout Packs. The event was attended by 112 Boys Scouts from around southwest Riverside County.

The first Boy Scout Fishing Day event was “an outstanding success. We had a great turnout with a lot of fish being caught…Overall they’re getting the experience of fishing, spending time outside with each other and they appear to be having a blast. Golden Era has put on a great event today,” Mills said.

In addition to the chance to win a trophy for the biggest fish, the Boy Scouts could earn part of their Troop Fishing Merit Badge, the Cub Scout Fishing Belt Loop and a fishing pin. A class on the finer points of fishing was held at the end of the fishing day for the Boy Scouts as a part of the fishing badge and belt loop requirement.

Melissa Cube, committee chair for Cub Scout Pack 53, said there has been a growth in the Boy Scout program in the Valley in the last three years with more interest in parent and scout camping trips and events like the fishing day.

“We wanted more kids in the Valley doing good. Keeping them active and teaching them really neat skills and giving them opportunities they might not already have,” Cube said.

She encouraged parents and children to sign up for the Boy Scout program online at

Mills said the next scout and community fishing day will be coming sometime in May of next year.

Hemet American Legion Post 53 is located at 124 N. Ramona St. in Hemet invited veterans and their families to join in their many community events.

Golden Era Productions is located at 19625 Gilman Springs Road in San Jacinto and is operated by the Church of Scientology.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at