Gone fishing

Jim McWhirter

The Anglers Club had its first two of six scheduled November derbies. On November 7, they hosted 25 junior high students. It was a beautiful day to be outside by the lake fishing, the sky was overcast with a fresh breeze blowing, a near perfect day.

The kids came running off the bus in anticipation, not sure what the fishing derby was all about. They were lined up for a group picture and given instructions on how to safely bait the hook and cast out the line. When instructions were complete and questions answered, each student was handed a fishing pole and a bag of bait (cut up hotdogs). They then went, three at a time, with a supervisor to stake out their spot on the lake to fish.

Hooks baited and lines cast out, they waited for a fish to bite. Within the first 10 minutes, the cry of “Fish On” echoed over the lake, heightening the expectation of catching a fish. Time went by with no more fish being caught, and the young fishermen got restless, reeling in their lines and checking the bait, casting out again and again. Soon, many moved to a new location around the lake, hoping fishing would be better in a different location. Bait fishing can become boring for active young people.

This day ended with eight catfish being caught, one “A Big Lunker.” Also, a very nice-sized largemouth bass was landed.

The second Derby was held Thursday, November 9. This was a group of 17 second graders. They walked in single file from the bus and lined up for their group picture and fishing instructions. They were given fishing poles and bait then went in pairs, with an adult leader, to an area on the lake where they would fish. They baited their own hooks, and the leader cast it out for them. Later in the day, they would learn how to cast it themselves. The initial objective is to get all the poles in the water quickly, so they can start to fish.

There was a long 15- to 20-minute wait until the first fish was caught. The faces of the young anglers showed their concern. Fishing was slow, and only six catfish were caught in the next hour and a half. The young anglers were happy and excited to be outdoors and get to see and touch a fish. This was a well-mannered, friendly and happy group of second graders. It was a fun group to work with.

In between fishing derbies, the Anglers Club had their monthly meeting and welcomed three new members. One major concern was the poaching of fish from Lake 6. This lake is for catch and release fishing only. v