“I got another one!” Fifth grader Jace Edwards yells as he reels in another fish. Even though the bluegill is smaller than his hand, it generates more excitement around the pond where the Cole Elementary School Fishing Club meets after school several times during the spring semester.
Anglers line up on the dock and around the pond looking for the big one. Some students use red worms, while another is hoping a chunk of hot dog will entice a big catfish. Another student uses a large crank bait searching for that elusive 18-inch bass, a legend of the pond.
Student Mason Kirk has his own approach: “The secret is to cut a worm in half and then drop one half in the water. If the fish eats it, drop your worm in and wait.”
“Our goal was for the fifth graders to learn proper fishing etiquette and leave with the knowledge of how to tie a knot on the hook, worm a hook, measure the length of a fish and take a fish off,” says teacher Jessica Ferger. She says thanks to donations from the community, all students have a tackle box and a pole. The Cole PTO supplies the club with goldfish snacks, water and bait.
“I joined the fishing club because I like fishing and I get to stay at school and have more fun,” says Adaline Mellady. “I enjoy fishing because it’s about being outside and learning patience. The secret to catching fish in the pond is to never lose hope.”
At the end of the semester, prizes will be awarded for perfect attendance, the student who catches the most fish and biggest fish.
Just another five minutes go by before you hear: “I got another one!” It’s Jace again. No one is sure if it’s the same fish that keeps coming back for a piece of that nightcrawler or if it’s a school of bluegill that can’t resist the bait. Either way, Jace ended up with 14 fish that night and will be a contender at the end of the season for the prize for catching the most fish.