HARLINGEN — Leroy Ortega’s skilled hands placed two pink salmon eggs on a hook, arming the boy with the proper bait to go after the fish hiding in the pond.
“It’s nice weather to be fishing,” said Ortega, who had baited the hook for George Hernandez, 10, a friend of his son Ozzy Monreal, 11.
“Let me see the rod,” Ortega said.
“The line’s on my foot,” said George.
Friends and family time seemed the order of the day for the Kid Fish event Saturday presented by the Harlingen school district’s ACE after-school program.
“We hope to bring the families together and create memories that are going to last a lifetime,” said Valerie Mena, ACE coordinator for Memorial Middle School.
“We hope they will look back and remember all the experiences they had together,” she said.
And for the fishing itself?
“We hope they can get more skills they can use in their lifetimes,” she said.
Several soccer games and a one-act play competition had probably affected a low turnout, but those who put in for a morning of fishing had a great time. The fish at the Harlingen Sports Complex pond weren’t biting, but that didn’t dampen the quality time enjoyed by those who’d dropped their line in the water.
“I think this is something awesome for parents to be involved with their children,” said Norby Guerra, who had brought his daughter Dezirae Price to the event.
They stood now on a bank beneath trees with their lines in the water.
“It’s family time,” he said with a smile. “It gives you time to be with your kids. There are not many things to do here in Harlingen.”
Dezirae, 8, seemed to enjoy the outing.
“I think it’s going to be really fun,” she said. “You get to hang out with your parents and do something with them.”
Mac McFarland and his son Henry, 8, sat quietly. Henry had his line in the water with no luck, but they seemed to be more caught up in the father-and-son moment.
“I think it’s great,” Henry said, looking up at his dad.