Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Fishing clinic held for migrant youth

Kevin Godsea, US Fish and Wildlife Service, indicated how to handle a caught fish, “Handle them gently, and by the body.” Submitted

Kevin Godsea, US Fish and Wildlife Service, indicated how to handle a caught fish, “Handle them gently, and by the body.” Submitted

Forty-five young people ignored the “No Fishing” sign and cast their baited lines into the marina waters of Port of the Islands. Adults stood by and watched.

Of course, this was the Fourth National Wildlife Refuge Week Fishing Clinic sponsored by the various national wildlife refuges of Collier County and participated in by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Marco Sportfishing Club, Florida Sea Grant, Fish Florida, Double RR’s Tours, and Port of the Islands. So, it was OK for the youth to fish there on that day.

The elementary, middle and high school youth came by bus from several schools as part of the Florida Migrant Education Program and were led by Carmen Fontdevila.

They learned how to tie a hook on a line and what things they should carry in a tackle box. They learned how to care for a caught fish, to get it off the line safely, and the basic rules on what size each species of fish are legal to keep. They were taught to cast with a spinning reel.

Then, they went fishing. And, they caught some fish, some nice fish.

The next treat was a ride on Double RR’s ecotour boat to see manatees, a bald eagle, osprey, herons, and egrets. But the final treat of the day was that they were given their fishing poles and tackles boxes to take home.

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