Something was fishy at the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Library on Wednesday, but that was the purpose of the second annual “Gone Fishing” event. Volunteers from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, along with Central Texas Master Naturalists, had six docks set up, each featuring a different fishing topic.
Father and son Christian Vasquez and Antonio Vasquez, 6, tried their hands at learning knot tying from volunteer Lynn Williams. Vasquez wanted his son to get away from indoor activities to learn about nature.
“It teaches kids to have fun outside, so they can experience wildlife firsthand,” he said.
More than 200 kids, or “junior anglers,” received a checklist they took to each of the six docks, manned by angler educators. Docks were set up both inside the recreation room with the casting demonstration outside.
“The children are doing every aspect of fishing, so when they get done here, they can buy their own rod and start fishing,” said Ursula Nanna, angler educator and event coordinator with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. The activities ranged from bait and lure, fish identification and safety rules and even the proper way to hold different fish. After a child completed an item on the checklist, they turned it in to receive a free bag of fishing items and toys.
The event was part of the library’s science theme, “Spark a Reading Reaction,” for the summer.
“Today’s event is a good overview for children to discover fishing in Texas, and maybe spur a lifelong interest in it and the outdoors,” said Lisa Youngblood, library director.
Outside, a steady stream of kids, some as young as 3, lined up to practice casting with a fishing rod and reel hoping to earn a prize.
“This event lets kids start to understand how to take care of the environment and animals and have fun as they learn,” said Karen Davidson, a prekindergarten teacher.