Seminar helps set kids on successful fishing path

Children got a “reel” chance to hook on to some great fishing advice Friday morning during the first “Kids’ Pathway to Fishing” seminar under the big tent at the Sorting Gap Marina.
At least 10 informational stations, each manned by a volunteer educator, saw about 90 youngsters pass through, hearing presentations on everything from species identification to bait size and styles, personal safety, and fishing ethics.
Information on rod types, the importance of “catch and release,” and how to handle a fish properly also were offered, as were “hands-on” activities like tying improved cinch knots, casting, and how to set a hook.
Organizers and parents alike were upbeat about its success.
Event organizer Jim Cumming said the seminar covered subjects both fundamental and precise, and was adapted from a similar one used in the United States.
“The program was originally created for use by ‘In-Fisherman,’ Berkley and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,” he explained.
“We covered some of the very basics and some specifics [of fishing].”
“It was great, excellent, wonderful. Any of those adjectives would [cover it],” co-organizer Geoff Gillon enthused yesterday.
“The important thing is that [children] feel they can be successful in catching [a fish], whether that’s a three-ounce perch or a five-ounce crappie,” Cumming reasoned.
“Just the experience of being able to go out and do it and have some sort of success at it is [what’s important],” he stressed.
Vic Nowak, who accompanied his children, Leah and Jenna, to the fishing seminar, said he was pleasantly surprised by the event and the influence it had on his children’s fishing skills.
“It was terrific and well-presented,” he remarked. “In fact, it motivated us so much we went out fishing the next two days and Leah caught the first two fish of her life.”
Gillon also believed the initial success of the “Pathway to Fishing” program would mean it would be joining the ranks of the other children’s events earmarked for next year’s bass tournament.
“Now that we know [its success], we will be able to market it ahead of time,” he anticipated.
“And it’s a great way to make use of the tent in the morning,” he added. “It makes [the tent] a good place to go for the kids.”
Participants in the “Kids’ Pathway to Fishing” were presented with hats, posters and other fishing related materials supplied by various outfitters upon the completion of the program.