Fish­ing event at Wil­son Point brings thrill of fish­ing to next gen­er­a­tion

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By: GIANNA DECARLO gde­carlo@ches­

As we en­ter the thick of sum­mer, and the steadily ris­ing tem­per­a­tures that come with it, we be­gin to see a fa­mil­iar sight along the state’s wa­ter­ways. Tucked un­der the com­fort of a shady tree, we see fam­i­lies with fish­ing lines cast into the area’s many wa­ter­ways, hop­ing to reel in a sun­fish or a white perch or a croaker.

On Satur­day, Au­gust 5, over 50 chil­dren will be ex­posed to this sum­mer tra­di­tion with a Kid’s Fish­ing Day at Wil­son Point Park. Spon­sored by the Es­sexMid­dle River Chap­ter of the Mary­land Salt­wa­ter Sport­fish­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, the event hopes to in­spire a love

of fish­ing into chil­dren who have never ever held a rod be­fore.

“Most of them have never fished be­fore, they don’t have a clue, and some of the parents don’t ei­ther. So we walk them through ev­ery­thing they need to know and show them how to do this and do that,” said Bill Hup­pert, the trea­surer of the Es­sex-Mid­dle River chap­ter.

Every year, 50 new kids at­tend the event, along with a few dozen re­turnees. Adding the chil­dren’s fam­i­lies, Hup­pert ex­pects a turn out of over 100 peo­ple. At the event, vol­un­teers from the or­ga­ni­za­tion will teach chil­dren the fish­ing essentials, like how to tie knots, cast a line, and bait a hook. Every fish caught will be mea­sured and be en­tered in a con­test where the big­gest fish takes home a prize.

All kids will re­ceive a rod and reel combo along with a tackle pack to take home along with drinks and re­fresh­ments.

“We try to sup­port our com­mu­nity by get­ting kids in­volved in fish­ing. We’re try­ing to pass this knowl­edge and pas­sion of fish­ing to the gen­er­a­tion that’s com­ing up,” said Hup­pert. “Once they know all about that, they be­gin to learn about how to take care of the Bay and how to keep it clean and help sus­tain an en­vi­ron­ment that’s good for fish­ing. We wanted to give that back.”

Pre-reg­is­tra­tion for the Fam­ily Fish­ing Day ends on July 31. For more in­for­ma­tion or to ob­tain a reg­is­tra­tion form, call Hup­pert at 410-335-9480.

The Es­sex-Mid­dle River chap­ter boasts a mem­ber­ship of over 500 and is one of 13 branches of the MSSA, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­motes mea­sures to pro­tect the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and lo­cal fish­er­men and fish species.

“The mis­sion of MSSA is to pro­vide a uni­fied voice to pre­serve and pro­tect the fish­eries re­sources, the rights of recre­ational fish­er­men, and the op­por­tu­nity to sup­port ac­tiv­i­ties that en­hance the ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment,” states the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s web­site.

For long-time fish­er­men and fish­er­women or new­com­ers to the sport, the Mary­land De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources pro­vides in­for­ma­tion on healthy habits to stay safe while pro­tect­ing the area’s wildlife as you fish.

Plan Ahead

• Know fish­ing reg­u­la­tions, min­i­mum sizes and lim­its. • Use heavy tackle and

bring fish in quickly. • Have de­hook­ers, pli­ers, gloves, net, grip­ping de­vices, and cam­era ready. • If fish­ing from shore be pre­pared to wade into the water to meet the fish and avoid drag­ging it up onto dry sand. • Flat­ten barbs on hooks and use cir­cle hooks when you fish with nat­u­ral bait. • Avoid catch and re- lease of medium and large striped bass in fresh­wa­ter warmer than 65-70-De­grees.

Han­dling Your Catch

• How to hold a fish • Keep your fish in water

if pos­si­ble. • Use rub­ber or soft

mesh land­ing nets. If you must han­dle fish: • Use wet pro­tec­tive

gloves. • Do not lift fish verti

cally by jaw or gills. • Do not al­low fish flop on boat deck or ground. • Hold fish hor­i­zon­tal

with sup­port. • Re­turn fish to water

quickly. • Re­mov­ing the Hook • Re­move hook when

ever pos­si­ble. • Have proper tools handy and know how to use them. • Be quick and care­ful. • Re­leas­ing the Fish • Re­turn fish quickly and

gen­tly. • Move ex­hausted fish slowly through water to force water through the gill

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