SEBASTIAN – Nearly 50 kids poured into Riverview Park Saturday to get a refresher on the finer points of fishing. From fish ecology and fishing safety to knot-tying and casting, kids with various levels of fishing experience delved deeper into the sport.
Sebastian Fishin’ Chics hosted a youth fishing clinic at the park over the weekend as a way to get kids and parents more involved in the activity together. With a grant from Fish Florida, the women’s fishing club was able to provide each child with a rod and reel and small tackle box of various fishing lures.
The group set up five stations around the park and broke the kids down into five teams, sending them around the stations in round-robin fashion.
At the baiting station, Sebastian Fishin’ Chics volunteer Stacie Strate asked a group of five children about their bait experience and elicited a surprising tale.
Nine-year-old Evan Kohuth shared with the group that he likes to fish with Jarlsberg cheese – a type of Swiss. While out fishing, a friend of his using the cheese caught a barracuda, he said.
He, himself, has caught a snapper on the dairy product, which doubles as a snack while fishing.
When asked if he would continue using the cheese, despite receiving a new tackle box full of other lures, Kohuth said, “sometimes.”
The children at the station saw how to hook a live shrimp without killing it.
Strate pointed out the light “v” shaped markings on the shrimp’s head and pointed to the dark spot between – the shrimp’s brain.
If it’s alive, it will walk around in the water.
“Oh…lunch!” Strate said, mimicking the thoughts of whatever fish might happen by and see the shrimp.
While they learned about bait and lures, another group of kids tried their hands at tying a clutch knot.
Instead of starting out with thin monofilament line and a sharp hook, the kids practiced on thick cord and a wine cork with an eyescrew attached.
“I did it!” exclaimed nine-year-old Luke Sammartino.
Sammartino, who has been out fishing several times, credited natural talent for catching onto the knot so quickly.
“I think it’s easy for me,” he said, explaining that the first time he tried the trickier fisherman’s knot, he got it.
Others in his group took a little longer to catch onto the tying.
“With practice, your hands will get better holding things,” Sebastian Fishin’ Chics volunteer Nancy Richards said.
By the end of the session, another volunteer asked the children why it is they sometimes lose a fish on their line. Several offered that the line could break if you caught too big of a fish or if that fish bit through the line.
Though those answers can be true, the volunteer explained that more often than not, it’s because the knot was not pulled tight enough.
If it’s not tight, “your fish will go bye-bye,” she said.
Sebastian Fishin’ Chics hopes to get a second grant so they can put on another fishing clinic later this year.
“We felt very fortunate” to have received this grant, Sebastian Fishin’ Chics President Nan Burke said, explaining that several other groups have been applying for grant monies.