Kids fall for fishing hook, line and sinker
Gilbert Run Park hosts free fishing class
Sometimes mothers know best, and there’s a good chance that Isaiah Jordan will agree wholeheartedly with that statement.
The 15-year-old rising North Point High School sophomore fished for the first time in his life Thursday during the first of several free fishing classes being offered at Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville and landed a class-high three fish.
“Oh, I love it,” said the White Plains resident following his first-ever catch of a bluegill. “My heart was rushing because I was like, ‘I don’t want to drop the rod.’ I knew I was stronger than the fish and I went to reel it in and felt a big [tug], so I started reeling it in. Fishing takes patience, a lot of patience. I’m not patient all of the time, but I feel now I can be a little more patient.”
Though Jordan has found a new pasttime — he also plays football and basketball — he wasn’t keen on attending and was enrolled kicking and screaming.
“Oh, he had an attitude,” said Jordan’s mother.
“Originally I was like, ‘Damn. Why? why?’” Jordan said. “My mom made me [attend], but all of a sudden since I caught my first fish I have to let it go. I’m starting to really like it.”
The free fishing class was the first of several the park will hold this summer. Another one later this month is already
filled and two more will be held in July and two more in August.
Thursday’s class had more than 25 young anglers from Charles and St. Mary’s counties.
“The wind today made it more challenging because it’s hard to tell if you get a bite and the lines were all tangling,” Gilbert Run assistant manager Anthony Hancock said. “I still think it was a success and they seemed to enjoy themselves and I’m hopeful they learned something, whether it’s something simple like putting a worm on a hook or making an overhead cast or keeping their line tight. There’s always
something they’re going to remember like the rod sliding out or the rod falling in the water or catching a turtle. But that’s all fishing.”
Hancock spent the first portion of the class explaining the different parts of the fishing rod and then demonstrated the drop cast, side cast and overhead cast.
“On the overhead cast you want to watch out for your buddy behind you or overhanging trees,” said Hancock, who then promptly ripped a cast through the leaves of an overhanging tree.
After practicing casts under the watchful eye of Hancock and park assistant managers Dezi Collins and J.B. Kirscht, the young anglers spread out along the banks.
Moments later, bobbers equipped with hooks and chunks of wiggling earthworms were pitched into the 60-acre lake as parents flinched.
“What can you expect to catch beside yourself?” Hancock asked the class. “Catfish, bass and catfish, and please don’t catch any seagull or geese.”
But the lake wasn’t yielding much on this given day.
“[The fish are] very unpredictable,” said Hancock, who added he thought part of the reason was a recent algae bloom. “We’ve also had four days of extremely warm weather and that will send the fish deep.”
Eyes grew wide when Hancock announced there’d be a bonus of a $100 bill for the first fish
caught. And then shoulders sagged when he said he was just kidding.
“I got some bites but didn’t get it though,” said 11-year-old Sara Robertson of Newburg. “My biggest fish I don’t know [how big it was] but it was on a pier at catfish on pier at Captain Billy’s [Crab House] on shrimp.”
Bobbers ere nudged and catches were missed, but the anglers kept at it.
“I can’t believe the fish got away again and again and again,” muttered 7-year-old Nigel Hugh of Waldorf as he headed back to the bait station for more worms.
This is the third year the classes are being offered by Charles County recreation, parks and tourism. Maryland Department of Natural Resources ran
the class years.
“I don’t fish a lot, just a couple times a year at my grandfather’s pond in Florida,” said Brendan Nagel, 8, of Bryantown, who is taking the class for the fourth straight year. His dream catch? A tiger shark. “The most important [thing I’ve learned] is safety and how much fun it is. I like catching fish because you feel really good about things.”
While the fishing was slow, the entertainment was not as anglers were enthused by a large flock of Canadian geese, the occasional appearance of a turtle and a Northern water snake slowly cruising along in the water.
“[What I’ve noticed] is kids probably aren’t patient enough, and they’re
first two reeling their line back in and not letting it sit,” Hancock said. “We’re all using bobbers and they’re designed to just sit on the water and then [when you get a bite] you reel it in. But again, they get so excited about casting that they want to cast and then reel in and cast again.”
Logan Gray pierced the quietness with a holler when he wrestled a bluegill onto the dock and posed for pictures.
Moments later, Jordan landed his third fish of the day when he hooked a golden shiner. He previously caught a green sunfish.
The fish may not have been biting as much as the anglers would have hoped, but Jordan sure was hooked.
Isaiah Jordan, 15, of Indian Head, right, tentatively reaches out to touch his fish being held by Gilbert Run Park assistant manager Dezi Collins during Thursday’s free fishing class. It was Jordan’s first-ever catch.