PICKERING - The sun was shining and the bobbers were bobbing in Frenchman's Bay for Pickering Rod and Gun Club's 26th annual Family Fishing Weekend.
The group hosted a free fishing day for kids 14 and under on Saturday at Pickering's Progress Park First-time fishermen and experienced young anglers alike came out to enjoy the event, which is aimed at inspiring a love of fishing in young people.
"It's really to get kids interested in fishing" said Vern Mason, of the Pickering Rod and Gun Club, noting that the event was timed to coincide with the province's Family Fishing Week which allowed licence-free fishing from Saturday, July 2 to Sunday, July 10.
"We want to show them you don't need a million dollars to go fishing, all you need is a rod and some worms. the kids really seem to like it, we had one girl who started coming here when she was five and now she's 25 and she brings her own kids" Club member Stephen Huntley, who also belongs to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, notes that people come from as far away as Thornhill and Brampton to fish alongside locals.
"We want to show people you don't have to go up north for fishing, you can do it right here in your own backyard;" he said.
Fishing rods and reels were available for loan at the event and representatives of Muskies Canada were on hand to teach kids how to create their own fishing lures. "We just want to teach kids about fishing and encourage them to get outdoors," said Jim Kelly, a member of the conservation group. "Nothing makes you l happier than seeing a kid make his own lure. and then catch a fish on it, they're always so thrilled" Whitby's Tina Bittorf and David Hastings brought their children and some of their friends out to enjoy the day.
'It's great because it really gets them out fishing and introduces them to the sport," Mr F. Hastings said of the event. "It's better than having them sit inside playing video games, this gets them outside and learning something new."
Nathan Rowe, 12, said he's been fishing "since he's been alive" and enjoys the sport. "It's fun when you catch a fish but it's also kind of scary because I don't want the fish to eat me," he said "Today is fun, and it gets the family together. We're using corn as bait today because we're fishing for carp and they're vegetarians."
Danielle Primeau and Emma Hogan, both 11, were also enjoying the day.
"It's relaxing," Danielle said of fishing. 'It's nice because it's not stressful, you can just relax and wait for them to bite." However, the girls weren't having much luck in the biting department.
"It's fun, but all I've caught so far is seaweed;" Emma said. Randy Singh, of Ajax, brought his two daughters out to introduce them to the sport.
"They've never been fishing so I thought it would be a good chance for them to experience it for the first time," he said. Jasmine Singh, 8, and her sister Brianna, 9, were both excited to get started. When asked what they were most looking forward to they answered simultaneously, "catching a fish."
News Advertiser - July 13, 2011