By Cindy Hoffman, Staff Writer
(June 15, 2023) The fish will be biting on Saturday, June 17 for the annual “Teach a Kid to Fish Day” hosted by the Ocean Pines Anglers Club.
From 9 – 11 a.m. kids will get the chance to fish at the South Gate Pond, near the Sports Core Pool.
Members of the Ocean Pines Anglers Club and the state Department of Natural Resources will be on hand to teach the kids fishing skills and techniques such as knot-tying, how to bait a hook, lure selection and casting. They’ll also talk about fish identification.
“A lot of it becomes, not teach a kid, but teach a parent or teach a grandparent to fish,” John McFalls of the Anglers Club said.
Many come to the event with a fishing rod still in the package.
“We will put it together for them,” McFalls said.
The stocked pond contains all kinds of fish: largemouth bass, sunfish, catfish, carp, and crappie, according to McFalls.
This is strictly a catch-and-release event. McFalls does not recommend people eating the fish they catch in the South Pond because of the number of ducks and geese that also use those waters year-round.
The event, which draws between 60-80 people each year, inevitably produces a great level of excitement among the young participants.
“That’s why we do these things. We enjoy that excitement,” he said.
“Fishing is a great activity. It gets kids outdoors, and away from their computers and IPADs. It’s a great hobby.”
There will be a drawing for a free rod and reel, so when kids arrive they should register to enter. This year’s prize is a custom-made rod with reel by David Hammond.
“Custom rods are pricey; I don’t even have one,” McFalls said.
McFalls said the winner can contact Hammond and he will put their name on the rod.
The Ocean Pines Environmental Committee will be at the event to talk to the kids about protecting the environment while they fish. The efforts would include picking up lures, hooks and fishing line. Lines can get caught in trees, especially with novice anglers, so cleaning those up before leaving is important to protect birds and other wildlife.
DNR will have a table with coloring books and whistles for the kids.
Participants are encouraged to bring insect repellent, water and a rod. Bait will be provided.
The event is free. No pre-registration is required.