Casting a line: Students get feel for fishing

Published 11:34 am Monday, February 13, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

CLANTON —Imagination was sparked as Douglas Darr of the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division education program set the stage for his after-school activity at Clanton Elementary School on Feb. 10.

A grassy field became a lake and hula hoops became boats as students prepared to try their hand at casting a line. Darr explained what to do, and demonstrated the proper casting technique for the students. Then, it was the students turn. Each stood inside a hula hoop set on the ground to take their turn at casting.

For some of them, it was their first time holding a fishing pole. Each pole had a small rubber fish on the end instead of a hook. The students tried their hand at casting and sliding the small chub into the larger rubber fish laying several feet away.

Darr said the program is designed to promote interest in fishing and educate students about fishing techniques.

“Fishing is easy, but the kids don’t realize it because they have never been, so it gives them a chance to see how easy it is,” Darr said.

Clanton Elementary physical education teacher Shelia Speaks had seen the presentation at an Alabama State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance conference.

“I thought our afterschool [program] kids would enjoy this,” Speaks said.

Speaks said she is also considering incorporating the activity into her physical education classes in the future.

For third-grade student Duait Aluarado, it was his first experience with fishing. His excitement showed as he successfully caught his first fish.

Logan Coppedge, also a third-grade student, had been fishing before and found the activity more difficult than the real thing. Despite the challenge, Logan said it was really fun. He said the students knew they would be having a special activity that day, but “I didn’t know it was going to be anything as fun as this.”

Last year, the state aquatic education program did 125 such casting classes, meaning more than 7,000 were able to participate.

The program also offers more detailed fishing courses, fishing events and environmental aquatic education programs.