Bass Pro Shops Kids Fishing Rodeo
by Ron Presley
Pay it forward
Rusty Jackson sees the future of catfishing very clearly. “Getting kids involved in fishing is paramount to the continuation of our sport and conservation efforts,” says Jackson. “Not only is fishing a fun activity, it builds character and teaches other life lessons that will help young kids throughout their lives.”
These comments came after Jackson, Larry Muse, Joyce Muse, Justin Russell, two Wildlife Resource Officers and two staff members finished a Kids Fishing Rodeo at the trout pond. The rodeo took place at Pass Pro Shops (BPS) at the Pyramid in Memphis. The event is part of their Summer Days Sale and happens at least once every summer.
“Justin Russell, West TN Catfish Anglers Association, had asked for volunteers,” reported Joyce. “Larry and I had the pleasure of joining the group to help out. My job was to help them tie on hooks, choose their baits and bait their hooks. I’ve never tied on a hook before, but Larry said I did pretty good.”
The other volunteers helped watch over the kid’s safety, helped them fish and posed for photos. It was a fun day for everyone.
“It was very interesting to watch the kids,” said Joyce. They could see their bait sinkt to the bottom of the pond and watch the fish swim nearly up to their bait and turn away. Toward the end of the day Rusty Jackson got some freeze-dried crickets, which proved to be the best bait of the day. I think 5 or 6 trout were caught on the crickets.”
The bridge across the pond was filled with onlookers as kids from two-years-old and up tried to catch a fish. The event ran from 12 o’clock noon to 4 o’clock. Each child got 15 minutes to fish, and then, if they wished, could get in line to fish again. The children all received a free gift from BPS. The event was offered free of charge.
“You should have seen all the happy faces and smiles generated by just holding a rod and reel,” offered Jackson. “And then, the Frisbee size eyes balls when they hooked up with a fish for the first time. By the way, I still get that look when I hook up!”
Jackson also noted some of the benefits of getting kids out to fish. “Fishing gets kids off the couch and out of the house. It is an opportunity for them to experience the outdoors and all the wonders of nature. Mentally, it teaches patience, develops critical and strategic thinking and how to deal with defeat.”
“Fishing teaches the consequences of poor choices,” continued Jackson. “It also reveals the celebration and reward that comes with making the right decisions. Young anglers (old ones too) also learn how to be humbled by an animal with a brain the size of a pea that will outwit you many times!”
“Although I get an adrenalin rush every time my rod bends and the line is stretched like a guitar string, there’s nothing like being there when a kid has a fish on and seeing the emotions displayed on their face for all to see as the battle ensues,” said Jackson.
“So, if you enjoy fishing please take a little time and pass on the sport by taking a kid fishing,” concluded Jackson. “Get involved with youth fishing events in your area. Who knows you may become that special person responsible for their first fishing memory. It might be a memory that changes their life forever. And, chances are great that you may have just as much fun as they do!”
CatfishNow commends BPS for making this fishing opportunity available and thanks all the volunteers for donating their time to the event.