Children learn about fishing

SAN BENITO — Plastic colorful fish are scattered across the floor of a basketball court at Kennedy Park.

SAN BENITO — Plastic colorful fish are scattered across the floor of a basketball court at Kennedy Park.

Children are lined up, and one by one they cast a line in an attempt to reel in a plastic fish.

The fishing camp, hosted by Fishing’s Future in connection with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, taught children how to fish and the importance of being mindful of the environment around them.

Cindy Rucker of Fishing’s Future, an organization whose mission is to reconnect children to nature, said the camp works like a basic angler education class.

“We’re teaching them what they need to learn to be able to go out there with their families and fish,” Rucker said.

Homer Garcia, head of the camp and Texas Wildlife volunteer, held a fishing camp in March with a local church before being asked by the city of San Benito to hold one for local children. Garcia decided to hold two separate camps during the week to allow more children to participate.

About 40 children ages 5 and up were separated into five different stations that rotated every 20 minutes. At each station, children learned about a different aspect of fishing.

One station goes over rules and regulations of fishing and another teaches children how to tie different knots. At one station, children are seated at a bench while a volunteer goes over the different types of bait and how to secure it on the hook.

“Most of the time they are either scared of the bait or they’re scared of the hooks,” Rucker said.

Rucker said allowing the children to touch the bait and learn how to safely work with the hooks takes the fear out of fishing.

The most popular station involves casting a line and catching plastic fish.

This activity prepares the children for the real life fishing they attempted at the end of the day.

“They’re having a blast,” Garcia said. “A lot of these kids have never fished before.”

Garcia wants to continue organizing these camps and hold them on weekends to allow parents to play a bigger role in the learning process.