(June 18, 2021) As something of a prelude to Father’s Day, the annual Ocean Pines Anglers Club “Teach a Kid to Fish Day” takes place Saturday from 9-11 a.m. at the South Gate Pond near the Worcester County Veterans’ Memorial.
Ocean Pines Anglers Club member Jack Barnes said the educational offering goes back nearly two decades and was slightly predated by the group’s Art Hansen Memorial Youth Fishing Contest that launched in the late 1990s.
“This is different from the fishing contest,” he said.
Barnes said before baiting hooks or casting, participants should check in at the registration tent, which also enters them in a drawing for a free rod and reel.
“We ask them to bring their own rod and reel, but we provide bait,” he said. “No pre-registration is required, just come as you are, all ages.”
In addition to hands-on displays from the Anglers Club, Department of Natural Resources officials would also be on site, Barnes said.
“They hand out whistles for the kids and brochures with fishing regulations,” he said.
Barnes also credited Natural Resources for stocking the South Gate Pond annually with selections including sunfish and bluegills.
Identifying the angler’s quarry is also a featured component.
“There’s one table where we have a couple of trays with fish in them,” he said.
Kids are presented with an array, such as perch or blue fish, and learn to recognize various species.
“It’s great because they get to touch them,” he said.
Selecting the right lure based on fishing conditions is also covered.
“Then we have a table for lure identification,” he said. “It’s a big board with a whole bunch, maybe 25-30, fishing lures.”
Anglers Club members also operate a casting station to teach kids how to maximize reach without producing snarls and backlashes.
“Sometimes you get these kids that surprise you,” he said. “You get some eight-year-old kid just whipping it out 40 feet.”
Anglers Club members are skilled at teaching kids and invariably get some amusement out of the youthful reactions.
Barnes said baiting hooks with youngsters never fails to bring a chuckle, with some quick to grab worms while others are more squeamish.
Plans are also being completed to stage the annual Art Hansen Memorial Youth Fishing Contest in July.
Barnes said the Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club has supported both Anglers Club youth fishing efforts every year.
Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks help produce and publicize both affairs.
Participants are advised to bring along sunscreen and drinking water on Saturday.
Barnes said festivities kick off at 9 a.m., before what is expected to be a hot afternoon.
“We should miss the worst heat,” he said.
For more information, contact Anglers Club board member John McFalls at 610-505-1697.