More than 120 children take part in annual fishing day

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Jesse Casarez sat next to his 9-year-old daughter Taelar with their feet hanging off the dock and Jesse keeping a close eye on the vibrant orange bobber in the greenish-blue water below.

Taelar rested her head on her father's shoulder and joined him in watching intently as the bobber swayed in the water.

Sitting beside Taelar was a tackle box full of hooks, lures, weights and countless jigs. Jesse pointed to the box and said, "All that (in the box) doesn't have has much value as your child's time."

The Casarez were one of a number more than 50 families who brought their children out to take part in the Greenville Jaycees third annual Kids Fishing Day at Sherling Lake Saturday morning.

The fishing day was postponed a week because of the inclement weather expected from the effects of Tropical Storm Arlene, so this year's fishing day just happened to fall on the same weekend as Father's Day.

"This is the largest turnout we've had," said Jaycees President William Martin. "I'm sure (with it being on Father's Day weekend), it helped the turnout and added something to it.

"We appreciate those who helped to make this event so successful. It was a gorgeous day. The weather definitely cooperated on our behalf."

Martin estimated that more than 120 children took part in the four-hour free fishing day along Sherling Lake. The total number exceeded last year's total, which was estimated to be 70.

Jesse Casarez said that he took Saturday morning off just to fish with his daughter.

"It's tough just watching her fish, but it makes me feel good to help her learn to fish," he said. "I get more pleasure out of watching her swell with pride, yell when she catches something.

"You can do things with your family, but it's different when it's just you and your child."

Conservation officers from the Butler County area helped to stock more than 1,000 catfish and net off an area on the upper portion of Sherling Lake just for the fishing day.

"This is such a great event for the children and the parents," said Don Reaves, who is a local conservation officer.

Since there was such a great turnout on the Father's Day weekend, Martin said there may be some discussion to move the Kids Fishing Day to the Saturday of Father's Day.

"It's something to discuss, but right now it's a big thing for us to have it the same week as National Boating and Fishing Week," he said. "We like to have it on the same day that the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has its free fishing day."