SCRUGGS, Va. (WFXR) — The rod was doubled over. At one end was 11-year Trinity Dooley; at the other end was a largemouth bass. The bass jumped out of the water.

“Keep reeling, baby,” encouraged Trinity’s dad, Barry Dooley.

Within minutes, Captain John Mathena of Patriot Fishing Charters scooped the chunky bass into the net.

That was a scene repeated over and over Saturday, June 25 on Smith Mountain Lake during a youth event organized by the Smith Mountain Striper Club (SMSC).

The effort, called ‘Reel Connections,’ was organized by SMSC to provide a day of fishing on Smith Mountain Lake that many of these children would otherwise not get to experience.

A largemouth bass jumps as Trinity Dooley reels it in. (Photo: George Noleff/WFXR News)

SMSC worked with local churches and non-profits to select 16 children based on social, family, and financial factors. Eight of the top charter captains on Smith Mountain Lake donated their time and boats to the cause.

“It means a lot to get then out and see their faces when they catch a fish,” said Mathena. “Even just the boat ride, they light up.”

“It’s a dream that can only come true fishing here on the lake,” added event organizer Ken Britske of the SMSC.

Each child caught fish and received a free fishing rod and reel combo, as well as a tackle box filled with tackle. More importantly, though, they all made memories, and possibly a passion for the outdoors that will last them a lifetime.