Excitement in ‘reel’ time at Take a Kid Fishing tourney

Matt McAlarnen, Jack Leahy and George Fetterolf [Photo: Denise Ritchie]

The Kiwanis Club of Vero-Treasure Coast caught another big one last Saturday morning – hook, line and sinker – on the fishing catwalk under the Barber Bridge during its 29th annual Take a Kid Fishing Tournament.

Kiwanis members provided more than 150 children, ages 5 to 12, with gear, bait and angling advice to help them reel in the big one. The youngsters and their designated adults worked their way through two cases of shrimp as they cast their lines into the Indian River Lagoon.

To ensure that children wouldn’t have to devise tall tales of “the one that got away,” volunteers chummed the waters before participants arrived, attracting a wide range of fishy friends.

For many, it was the first time they had ever gone fishing. Once they got past hooking the slimy shrimp on the hook – or asked one of the many Kiwanis and Key Club members to do it for them – they were able to focus on the task at hand.

In today’s screen-obsessed, instant gratification society, it was reassuring to see the children sit patiently while watching and waiting for the telltale sign that they had landed a fish, and squealing with delight when they did. As bobbers bobbled and one fish after another was reeled in, the little ones giggled and shrieked with excitement, anxious to find out what they had hooked.

“It’s a great way for the kids to bond with the adult they brought along,” said event chair Jim Wolfe. “Seeing the look on the children’s faces says it all. It’s why we do this.”

After a morning of fishing, children and their families gathered for free burgers and hot dogs, and an awards ceremony to recognize their angling efforts. Prizes were awarded for each age bracket, with a special prize for the ugliest fish.

The Kiwanis Club of Vero-Treasure Coast, founded in 1973, follows the global mandate of serving children. Members host activities such as Take a Kid Fishing and also raise funds to provide college scholarships to high school seniors.

For more information, visit verokiwanis.com.

Photos by: Denise Ritchie
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