Kids learn basics at Harlingen angling sessions

HARLINGEN — One of the biggest stars of Mexican outdoors television says he’s in it for the payback.

“Well, somebody did it for me,” Pedro Sors said yesterday, “so I better do it for somebody else.”

Sors is lead instructor at the Summer Fishing Camp at the Harlingen Sports Complex, an intensive, three-day training session which started yesterday by showing kids how to master casting with a spinning outfit.

They learned the basics of how to manipulate the reel’s bail, and how to accurately cast toward three-foot-square targets placed on the ground.

Today and tomorrow, they’re going to put the training to use in the lake at the sports complex.

For 20 years, Sors has been a television star in Mexico, with his show, “Con Cana y Carrete,” which translates as With Rod and Reel. The show is broadcast on the Mexicanal network, but also airs on U.S. carriers, including Univision, where it is shown Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

The Summer Fishing Camp here is a charitable event, with all proceeds from the $25 registration fee dedicated to the Sunny Glen Children’s Home in San Benito.

“This is the first one that we are doing in the United States,” said Sors, who lives in Tampico, Mexico. “We’re very proud to be able to come and share the passion of fishing with these kids.

“Look at this, look at this,” he says, pointing to one of the camp participants who was tossing a practice lure without a hook toward a target.

“Half an hour ago he didn’t know anything,” Sors said. “Now, he’s got it.”

In Mexico, Sors said, uncountable numbers of kids have come through his fishing camps over the past 12 years, spurred by the popularity of his television show. “We have a lot of followers,” he said.

At the sultry camp yesterday morning, Sors said he had help with the camp from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which he said stocked the park lake with crappie, catfish and bass.

In addition, Bass Pro Shops donated the spinning rods and reels, and he was being aided in giving casting instruction by the Valley fishing group, Canal Fishing Junkies.

“We’re doing this for the Sunny Glen Children’s Home because they need a lot of help and the kids need a lot of help,” Sors said.

“We try to do this for people who don’t have the opportunity to learn to fish, because they don’t have fathers or mothers or uncles or whatever who will take them fishing,” he said.

Sors said there is still room today and tomorrow for any kids who want to show up from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. to learn something about fishing. While the charitable fee is $25, Sors says no kids will be turned away if they can’t pay.

“Whoever can pay the 25 bucks, pays the 25 bucks, and all the money goes to the Sunny Glen house,” he said.

Carlos Bazan of Weslaco, a member of the Canal Fishing Junkies, is one of the volunteers.

The Canal Fishing Junkies, he said, have about 14,000 Facebook members and, while they primarily hunt fish in the resacas, they also do some saltwater angling as well.

“We’ve got kids, older kids, we’ve got members that are veterans in the bass tournaments, really members Valley-wide from Brownsville all the way down to Hidalgo,” Bazan said.

Like Pedro Sors, Bazan said it was important for him and fellow Canal Fishing Junkies to be here today at the fishing camp.

“We heard about this through Bass Pro and we decided to partner up with them,” Bazan said, “give back to the community and get these kids hooked like we were hooked — I was hooked since I was a kid.

“If we can get somebody out here and he’s doing bad and out in the streets where he’s not supposed to be, get him hooked on fishing and he’s hooked on that, we can save his life,” he said.