Reel Impact Fishing Tournament helping kids with cancer

Reel Impact Capt Joe Marra With Delphina Canas

Young Edward Canas of Eden was standing at the side of boat, attempting to net a bass for his father, Juan. He was having a ball getting involved in the action as Capt. Joe Marra of Niagara Rainbow Charters looked on smiling. That’s what this day was all about – a special event that was called the Reel Impact Fishing Tournament. It was held on August 5 in the lower Niagara River, a perfect day to have some fun and raise funds for two worthy causes. It was a beautiful day all the way around. Young Edward is a cancer survivor.

Marra was assigned the Canas family for this event. In addition to Edward and Juan, there was Janette the mother/wife and Delphina the daughter and they were participating in the inaugural Reel Impact Fishing Day to help out the PUNT Pediatric Cancer Collaborative and the Catching Dreams program run by Capt. Ned Librock of Pendleton. Librock arranges for fishing trips for kids dealing with cancer with a handful of other skippers.

Some 15 boats were on the lower Niagara River on this day, involved in one way or another. Some of the boats were taking out sponsors; some of the boats were taking out kids and families. All were remembering or named for people we lost or those that have survived. For Capt. Joe Marra and the Canas Family, their boat won the Mark “Sparky” McGranahan Memorial Award for catching the most fish for the morning, reeling in 27 bass, plus some other non-target species like sheepshead. McGranahan was another angler that lost his battle with cancer earlier this year. In a touching gesture by the captains, they all collaborated on purchasing a memorial brick that was placed near the launch ramp in Lewiston on this day. They recognized the moment before they all headed over to the Three-F Club in Lewiston for lunch and awards.

Largest fish for the morning was a 29-inch, 10-1/2-pound walleye reeled in by Bob Powaski III of Buffalo. He was with Praxis Financial Group, title sponsor for the morning. He was fishing with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. Cinelli’s boat was memorializing his nephew Jon Cinelli who had recently passed. Powaski’s big fish won the Jed Woomer Memorial Award, named for a young gentleman who battled and lost to cancer. In fact, young Jed was the first junior angler to go fishing with Capt. Ned and his Catching Dreams Charters years ago. This year, Capt. Ned will be taking between 50 and 60 trips for kids with cancer as he truly makes an impact in young lives as they battle this terrible disease.

In addition, Librock has been expanding his search for captains as he slowly moves east and south from his base of operations in Western New York. Finding the right fit for the kids is one desire that Librock is meticulous about. Everyone needs to have a good time. It’s an opportunity for the child to forget about their problems for a while. If you think you fit the bill and would like to be part of this herculean effort, give Capt. Ned a call at 716-870-5326. Their website is

The PUNT Pediatric Cancer Collaborative was recently in the news with the unexpected passing of Luke Knox, younger brother of Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox. Dawson has been a spokesperson for PUNT for years, an organization started by former Buffalo Bills punter Brian Moorman.

No one rallies around their team like the Bills Mafia does and donations started coming in at an incredible rate of 10 per minute – most of them in the amount of $16.88. Number 16 was the number wore by Luke Knox at Florida International University where he was playing this year and 88 is the number currently worn by his big brother Dawson. So far more than $170,000 has been collected at PUNT with donations still coming in. PUNT can be found online at

According to the PUNT group, about 70 new families in Western New York are afflicted with the pediatric cancer diagnosis. The average out-of-pockete expense is over $35,000 over the course of treatment and about 15 percent of those families are below the poverty line. PUNT will help families by giving them a lifeline of sorts – providing financial and emotional support.

There will be another fishing fundraiser in 2023. Hats off to the people who made this happen, especially the charter captains who donated their time and boats to a most worthy cause.

Categories: Blog Content, New York – Bill Hilts Jr

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