Brielle Bennett of Cinnaminson, New Jersey, has been chosen as the first annual grand prize winner in the SWS Salt Water Kids contest. All of the monthly Salt Water Kids winners were asked to submit essays describing why they loved saltwater fishing, and Brielle edged out other strong competitors based on the strength of the essay she submitted, which follows:
“I’m promoting awareness of catch and release for all fish…big and small. One way I do this is by holding a pink circle hook release flag in all my world record pictures before releasing the fish. The flag was given to me by my friend and renowned marine artist David Wirth. Hopefully this will encourage others to release their fish…even world records!” The SWS editorial staff liked her commitment to catch and release.
Brielle and her father, Glenn, will soon take the grand prize trip which is two days of fishing with world-renowned shark expert and TV personality Chris Fischer, of the research organization Ocearch. “I’m really happy you picked me and I can’t wait to meet Chris Fischer,” Brielle said. She always watches his show and is a big fan, according to Glenn.
Brielle is 11 years old and has a younger and older sister. Her dad says she’s very mature for her age and has always loved wildlife. The Bennetts have three dogs, two chinchillas, one cat, and both freshwater and saltwater fish tanks. Brielle is conservation minded and when the family fishes, she likes to release what she catches. She’s always looking for turtles, dolphins or whale sharks. She’s seen two whale sharks and actually petted one of them.
Glenn says Brielle is very strong and has great fishing technique. She has fought big fish for 45 minutes and never complained or quit. “If I sound like a proud father, I obviously am,” Glenn said, “and her mother is equally proud of her. She goes everywhere with me and I couldn’t have a better fishing buddy! I’m most proud of her for being a great kid. She’s always polite and respectful and never a problem. I’m sure you’ll be very happy that you chose her!”
Brielle’s fishing accomplishments include World Record Achievement Awards at the IGFA Hall of Fame (she won 2 years in a row), and winning the prestigious Key West fishing tournament. She loves dogs, horses, fighting fish, snorkeling (diving’s next), lacrosse, soccer, and fishes with her sister as far as 100 miles offshore. She even likes to cook and is good at it. Glenn says when they do overnight trips, she always cooks the snappers.
All of us at_ Salt Water Sportsman_ offer our sincere congratulations to Brielle, who is obviously an up and coming star in our sport.