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Rend Lake Fishing Report: July 15, 2014

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Rend Lake Fishing Report: July 15, 2014

WSIL — Below is the Rend Lake fishing report for the week of July 14, 2014.

SPECIES: Largemouth Bass
RATING: Good
BAIT OF CHOICE: Worms, black and blue jigs, minnows and spinner baits.
SUGGESTED LOCATIONS: Fish in shallow bays near brush cover and bushes. Fish around bridges and along the rocks. Reports of fish being caught around Jackie Branch, Sandusky Cove, and below the dam.
REGULATIONS: 14″ minimum length limit, 6 daily creel limit. 1 fish daily creel limit in PONDS 14″ minimum length.

SPECIES: Crappie
RATING: Excellent
BAIT OF CHOICE: Jigs are working well. Quarter-ounce pink and white tub jigs. Small & medium minnows. Meal worms.
SUGGESTED LOCATIONS: Large crappie have been caught lately off points in 6-10 feet of water using minnows. Fish the main lake drop off areas. Try the Gun Creek Area. From shore, fish near structures. Hot spots are Jackie Branch, Sandusky, Sailboat Harbor, Marcum coves, and Ina Boat Ramp.
REGULATIONS: 25 fish daily creel limit with no more than ten fish 10 inches or longer

SPECIES: Bluegill
RATING: Good
BAIT OF CHOICE: Crickets, worms, wax worms, meal worms, small jigs.
SUGGESTED LOCATIONS: Fish in the back of necks and on flat shallow banks and on the rocks. Try fishing shallow with crickets, worms or small jigs. From shore try Sailboat Harbor.
REGULATIONS: 10 fish daily creel limit in PONDS.

SPECIES: Channel Catfish
RATING: Excellent
BAIT OF CHOICE: Sonny’s stink bait, Hoss’s Hawg Bait, leeches, night crawlers, and large minnows.
SUGGESTED LOCATIONS: A lot of fish have been caught from the sub-impoundment dams lately.  Try the Waltonville Dam, Turnip Patch, Jackie Branch, and North Sandusky Day Use Area.
REGULATIONS: Set line 3-4′ from the shore over rocks. Try leeches in moving water. Drift fish the flats. 6 fish daily creel limit in PONDS. Jugs must be attended at all times while fishing.

SPECIES: White Bass
RATING: Fair
BAIT OF CHOICE: Jig and curly tail grubs, inline spinners.
SUGGESTED LOCATIONS: Fish in shallow bays near brush cover and bushes. Fish around along the rocks and drop offs. Reports of fish being caught around the 154 bridges.
REGULATIONS: 20 fish creel limit. No more than 3 fish 17″ or longer daily

Information as of:  07/14/2014

LAKE LEVEL: 408.35     AVERAGE POOL FOR THIS DATE: 406.62    WATER TEMP:  78°F       1.42 inches of rainfall in last 24 hours

Use of a minnow seine, cast net, or shad scoop for bait collecting within 1000 yards downstream of the Rend Lake dam and spillway is prohibited.
Maps of the Fish Attractor tree locations along with GPS readings are available at the Rend Lake Corps of Engineers Project Office. Contact Randy Cordray for more information at (618) 724-2493. In order to maintain a cleaner recreation area, anglers and bow fishermen fishing below the dam are asked to return dead rough fish to the water.

 

Jerry Davis: Kids take center stage in Sauk City fishing tournament

Jerry Davis: Kids take center stage in Sauk City fishing tournament

The idea of a youngster taking an adult fishing started about 16 years ago, according to Wally Banfi, an employee, at Wilderness Fish and Game in Sauk City.

“Parents are busy, so the idea was to have their child ask, ‘Dad, would you take a minute and take me fishing,’ ” Banfi said of the sports shop’s event to help sponsor a fishing event open to teams with at least one angler who is under 16 years of age.

“It’s to get kids involved in a fun activity,” said Tom Lockner, owner of Wilderness Fish and Game, a business started by his grandparents years ago. “It’s about spending quality time together. We do it in the spirit of getting families out fishing and getting the next generation of conservationists.”

The July 26 event begins with a mandatory briefing at 6 a.m. at the shop and concludes with a weigh-in at 2 p.m. in the parking lot.

Each entry must provide a phone number so the participants can be called if they don’t return at “closing time.”

Entry forms are available on Wilderness Fish and Game Web page, http://www.wildernessfishgame.com, and should be turned in by July 19.

Each team must consist of an adult and at least one child under the age of 16. Fishing is permitted anywhere in the area, with six fish categories, including trout, walleye, bass, panfish, rough fish and catfish.

Prize trophies for first, second and third place, and a rod and reel, are given to the young angler with the heaviest fish.

“In past years we have had 200-300 anglers and about 100 boats, but anglers can fish from a boat or from shore, too,” Banfi said. “The purpose for this free event is to promote a healthy life style, so tobacco and alcohol are not permitted during the event.”

“It’s a pretty sweet time, lots of smiling faces and high-fives,” Lockner said.

The event has several major sponsors, including Arlington Agronomy, Ballweg Chevrolet/Ford, Becker Law Office, Larry Zins Memorial Fishing Tournament and Wilderness Fish and Game.

Central Wisconsin fishing report for July 6, 2014

Central Wisconsin fishing report for July 6, 2014

Catfish

A catfish(Photo: File photo)

Anglers are finding great musky and walleye action, with crappies and catfish hitting hard in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties.

Great walleye fishing in the central Wisconsin area has only been overshadowed by the outstanding muskie fishing.

The muskie fishing has been very good with some extremely good fish showing up every time we hit the water. Most of the action has been in 5- to10-feet of water working deeper break lines and weed edges with bucktails and jerkbaits, but a few have come from the main river channel by casting deeper diving crankbaits and rubber baits like Bulldawgs and Medusa’s.

For you anglers looking at getting some prime eating fish, the walleye bite has been fantastic in the central Wisconsin area. We have been catching a pile of nice fish during our trips with plenty of them in that 15- to 20-inch range that are perfect for eating. Most of the action is coming on jig and minnow or jig and crawler combinations but a few fish are being caught by guys long lining crawler harnesses over the shallow flats in 5- to 8-feet of water.

The crappie bite continues to be very good in the central Wisconsin area with some real slabs now showing up. A lot of the fish are suspended over deeper water and can be caught by spider rigging or by long line trolling small crankbaits like, Flicker shads and Rapala Shad Raps in 10- to 16-feet of water.

If you are out looking for a real battle, catfish have been providing not only action, but they will put up a fight that will test you to the limit in the central Wisconsin area. We have been regularly catching lots of catfish by working the deeper sections of the main Wisconsin River channel. Most of these feisty cats are caught by jig and minnow but crawlers are working very well too. The key to catching these cats is to keep your bait on the bottom and wait for the pick-up. Give the cat a few seconds to take the bait in, get ready, and set the hook. Hang on … it’s a battle you won’t soon forget!

Central Wisconsin lakes report based on interviews with licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and licensed guide Glenn Moberg, of Hooksetters Fishing & Hunting Guide Service, Mosinee. Wisconsin.

Chequamegon Bay, St. Louis River, Hayward fishing report

Fishing couple
Fishing couple

Chris and Katy Barnett from Arlington Heights, IL with smallmouth bass caught over the 2014 July Fourth weekend.(Photo: Submitted by Jeff Evans)

We’ve had an amazing Fourth of July weekend with some really great people and some truly special fish.

For the first time this season, I’m able to report on all three regions that we cover at once. With summer patterns starting to set up we’re definitely seeing some transitioning, especially with smallmouth.

Thursday was spent on Chequamegon Bay chasing smallies with Chris and Katy Barnett from Arlington Heights, IL. After a bit of a slow start, we located a lot of fish in 5- to 6-feet of water and had steady action throughout the day using plastic worms with a variety of presentations including drop shotting and wacky rigging.

As the day progressed, the fish continued to get more aggressive, and we ended on an awesome double right at the buzzer. Our largest fish on the day was 20 inches with lots of 18- and 19-inch fish to go along with it.

Full report: Visit Jeff Evans’ site to read the rest of the fishing report

Jeff Evans was born in Hayward, Wisconsin and has been a licensed fishing guide since 1992. Contact Jeff at info@jeffevansfishing.com or via JeffEvansFishing.com.

Wicked winter and June deluge impacts fishing season

Wicked winter and June deluge impacts fishing season

The harsh winter and never-ending summer rain is making tough for anglers to reel in a trophy fish or any fish for that matter.
The harsh winter and never-ending summer rain is making tough for anglers to reel in a trophy fish or any fish for that matter.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – The harsh winter and never-ending summer rain is making tough for anglers to reel in a trophy fish or any fish for that matter.

The Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources said there has been fish kill in many lakes across the entire state. Some lakes now have zero fish in them.

Plus with nearly ten inches of rain in June for Eau Claire, the rivers are high, currents are fast waters are muddy.

Businesses like Buroker’s Taxidermy Bait and Tackle are now reeling from Mother Nature.

“This business is very weather driven and anytime we have record weather in any category it’s bad. Record rain, record drought, record heat, record cold,” said owner Mike Buroker. “No records are good. So an average would be nice. We can ask are weather men to start working on average weather.”

The DNR said it was because of a combination of the winter and June rainfall.

“We determined yes, we did have kills and found in certain lakes, we have zero fish in them,” said district fishery supervisor with the DNR Bob Hujik. “The fish kills were predominately all over the state.”

Buroker said it seemed like the ice in the lakes would never melt.

“The ice just took forever to go away. A lot of people were excited about spring fishing but it just didn’t come. That’s two years in a row in Northern Wisconsin we had ice fishing during the opener,” said Buroker.

Hujik said the river and stream levels are also high at this time. That has been a turnoff to anglers as well. The rain drew debris into the waterways, making the rivers and lakes muddy and murky.

Joshua Charles was out fishing at the Chippewa River in Eau Claire. He said he caught several catfish during the day.

“One actually took out my pole, so I had to go home and get some new tackle. It’s a really good cat fishing spot,” said Charles.

But he said the fishing has been inconsistent.

“I think one of the reasons the fishing might not be so good this year is the climate definitely seems a lot more temperamental and it definitely seems like there’s kind of a plummet in good weather,” said Charles.

Hujik compared the stream water to chocolate milk.

“The fish do not feed during that time,” said Hujik.

Other lakes like Marshmiller Lake in Bloomer is doing just fine. We spoke to them on the phone and they say the only different is that some of the fishes may be a little smaller than years past.

While the fishing isn’t quite like it used to be in other lakes and rivers, Buroker said anglers shouldn’t give up just yet.

“When I was a kid, we fished all summer long. It didn’t matter if it was June, July, September. As long as we were out of school we were fishing,” said Buroker. “I love to fish so it’s hard to imagine not everybody wants to fish like I do, but we still have a lot of good weather left yet.”

Hujik said the DNR is stocked up some lakes this summer, including Half Moon Lake in Eau Claire. This week, they will be adding three to four inch pike so that by winter when anglers are ice fishing, the pike will be eight to ten inches.

Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo features 2 new changes

Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo features 2 new changes

Fishing rodeo 2
Fishing rodeo 2

Rodeo volunteer Brent Rester of Kiln gives (from left) Dylan Wescovich, 10, and Ryan Wescovich, 6, both of Ocean Springs, and Nikolas Hilton, 5, of Biloxi a close up look at a red snapper during a Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo in Biloxi. The 66th rodeo starts on Thursday.(Photo: File photo)

GULFPORT — The 66th edition of the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo begins Thursday at Jones Park’s Gulfport Harbor.

Admission to the four-day event is $10; $5 daily. Anglers fish free.

The rodeo, billed as the World’s Largest Fishing Rodeo, will run through Sunday at Jones Park with freshwater and saltwater divisions.

Two changes are in store for anglers.

Florida pompano is replacing amberjack, which is currently closed to recreational fishing in federal waters.

Mark Wright, the weighmaster, said red snapper has been added back as category.

The red snapper recreational season was extended in state waters recently by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. The extension allows anglers to fish for red snapper within Mississippi waters on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only throughout the month of July.

“Last year, when the season for red snapper was closed, we removed red snapper as a category,” Wright said. “We were not going to have red snapper again this year until the DMR opened fishing within state waters. When they (DMR) made the call, we added red snapper back as a category.

“Keep in mind that anglers fishing in Louisiana and Alabama waters can also bring their fish over here and enter.”

Rodeo rules permit fishing waters are the Mississippi Sound and the Gulf of Mexico

The saltwater division will now include barracuda, blackfish, black drum, bluefish, bonito, gar, flounder, Florida pompano, grouper, jack crevalle, king mackerel, lemonfish, mangrove snapper, sheepshead, redfish, red snapper, shark, Spanish mackerel, speckled trout and stingray.

The other change is in the freshwater division that used to include shellcracker and bluegill along with catfish, crappie, green trout and striped bass.

“Shellcracker and bluegill are no longer individual categories,” Wright said. “All sunfish have been grouped together this year as bream.”

Gulfport is hosting the Fishing Rodeo for the second straight year. Biloxi and Long Beach hosted the tournament before returning to its original site.

For rodeo officials, Gulfport symbolizes its rich history and legacy. Gulfport hosted the tournament for 57 years.

“The Fishing Rodeo started out in Gulfport way before my time,” said Richie Valdez, a member of the Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo board of directors. “Long Beach and Biloxi were both fabulous hosts, but it’s real important that the rodeo is in Gulfport. People in Gulfport are happy to see us back.”

The rodeo was created through an idea by Captain Horace Towell in 1947. The proposal was adopted as a resolution by American Legion Joe Graham Post 119 in Gulfport. The first fishing rodeo was held one year later.

In 1958, the American Legion Post incorporated the Fishing Rodeo as a Non-Profit Civic Improvement Corporation, dedicating its future development to Civic Leaders of Coastal Communities.

The resolution established the Rodeo’s long-term mission statement: promote the Gulf Coast and its beautiful fishing areas in the Mississippi Sound and the Gulf of Mexico.

“The Deep Sea Rodeo is our way of giving back to the community and thanking our local fishermen,” Valdez said. “They come out to celebrate the Fourth of July.”

Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in South Mississippi included Jones Park, ending Gulfport’s six-decade run as host. Officials were forced to move the 2006 event to the Harrison County Fairgrounds for two years. The 2008 and 2009 rodeos were shifted to Biloxi’s Point Cadet in Biloxi, back to Gulfport, then two years at the Long Beach Harbor and returning to Gulfport.

“When Katrina destroyed Jones Park, we bounced around a lot of cities,” Wright said. “Long Beach and Biloxi were great, but having the rodeo in Gulfport makes perfect sense because it’s centrally located. Gulfport works for fishermen on both sides to maintain balance.”

Since Katrina, only three records were set or tied:

— Taylor Butterworth of Pass Christian caught a 109 pound Tarpon in 2001, tying a record set in 1972.

— Donnie Simmons of Pass Christian caught a 99-pound, 8-ounce amberjack in 2006.

— Walter Crapps of Pass Christian caught a 2-pound, 15-ounce white perch in 2008.

— Tommy Williams of Slidell, Louisiana, set a rodeo record at the gray snapper division at 12 pounds, 13 ounces in 2011.

Scales will be open Thursday through Saturday from noon-to-6 p.m. and from noon-to-4 p.m. on Sunday.

Read or Share this story: http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/story/sports/2014/07/02/deep-sea-fishing-rodeo/11912761/

Smile! Satellites can see your illegal fishing from space

Smile! Satellites can see your illegal fishing from space

fish-satellite

If a fish falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it … wait, is that not how it goes? Let’s put it this way: If a fishing boat illegally scoops up a load of fish in the middle of the ocean and no one is there to see it, it’s still illegal — but until now there has not been much anyone could do about it.

It turns out that satellites a few hundred miles above earth are a lot better at surveying the high seas than, say, a lone Coast Guard boat with a spyglass, especially in the most remote waters where fishermen may be used to acting with impunity — ignoring quotas, transferring fish from ship to ship, dumping bycatch, even changing the vessel’s name between ports like a Shakespearian youth slipping casually into drag. Thanks to new projects in high-powered satellite surveillance, it may be possible to put an end to pirate fishing once and for all.

This is good news for, let me see, about a billion people.

Illegal fishing takes as much as 26 million metric tons of fish from the sea every year, or about 1 in 5 fish sold, for a grand theft of $23.5 billion total (or, to put it yet another way, almost 16 times the GDP of Belize or a mere seventh of the market value of Facebook). That’s money that doesn’t go to the fishermen who play by the rules, while lawbreakers put pressure on already overfished stocks like tuna and swordfish. And while illegal fishing has been getting a lot of press – notably, President Obama issued a memo on the subject last month — it’s hard to make a real dent in it without some serious international cooperation. Ships need to be traceable as they travel from one country’s maritime oversight into another’s, and enforcement needs to be stern enough that the risks of fishing illegally outweigh the rewards.

To this end, the Pew Charitable Trusts’ illegal fishing project teamed up with Oxford-based group Satellite Application Catapult to turn an all-seeing eye to the problem of piracy. By combining satellite-gathered signals from ship transponders with other data, whether crowdsourced or supplied by fishing enforcement agencies, Catapult can piece together a cheat sheet that identifies any vessel by name history, ID number, and the details of its fishing license.

Once the relevant authorities have access to that information, they will be able to spot illegal or unreported fishing in even the most remote areas, then zoom in to make the arrest. That big Ukranian ship hanging out in the marine protected area? Probably not a tourist.

This pilot project from Catapult is the latest in a string of tools Pew has thrown at the problem of illegal and unreported fishing. Last year, the group partnered with a small but spunky nonprofit located in West Virginia, SkyTruth, to use open-source satellite data to detect and document illegal fishing around Easter Island, a smidge of an island in a tuna-rich corner of the South Pacific, about 2,000 miles off the Chilean coast.

SkyTruth, under the guidance of geologist John Amos, had previously made its name collecting satellite images of mountaintop removal in Appalachia, fracking wells in Pennsylvania, and a certain infamous oil spill in the Gulf. But while publicly available satellite imagery are a great resource if you know where to look (as in, look roughly where the mountain used to be), it is too expensive and time-consuming to scrutinize every visible mile of the ocean’s surface (turns out, the world is BIG). So Amos and co. turned instead to other publicly available satellite data to tell them when and where to look for illegal fishing.

Most vessels have a transponder system, called an Automatic Identification System, that sends and receives little declarative pings to help ships avoid collisions. It just so happens that these pings can be intercepted by orbiting satellites, leaving a trail as a single ship pings its way across the sea. The only problem is that fishing boats can easily send fake identifying information through their transponders, or shut them off altogether. Sometimes fishermen do this just to keep other fishermen from getting wind of a good spot, but often it’s for more nefarious reasons. In any case, all the untraceable boats taken together are sometimes called, rather imperiously, the “dark fleet.”

Without reliable IDs, the SkyTruth team instead tried to narrow in on the likely suspects by using low-res radar imagery to detect the presence of a ship, and sometimes even its speed and direction, then cross-referencing that with the transponder signal (or lack thereof). The boats that did not identify themselves and could not otherwise be accounted for, SkyTruth surmised, were probably up to no good.

After a year of watching Easter Island, SkyTruth had enough data to estimate the total amount of fishing that was going on, and had singled out more than 40 unidentified vessels that had been unknown to Chilean maritime authorities.

As for Pew’s collaboration with Catapult, the aim is to take this kind of monitoring global, pumped up with some extra data not available to civilian groups like SkyTruth and made affordable for every country. There are some policy measures needed to cinch the deal – confirmation that vessels are all ID’ed with a unique code from shipyard to scrapyard, measures to ensure accountability in ports, etc – but the final, crucial step is to supplement the proverbial stick of increased enforcement with the carrot of higher profits (yum). Tony Long, director of Pew’s Ending Illegal Fishing Project, put it this way: “The vast majority of fishermen want to fish legally.” So why not give them a way to prove they’re doing it?

If retail chains demand traceability from their suppliers, and can promise them a premium price at the counter, then it’s in fishermen’s best interest to opt into a monitoring system. Instead of putting the onus on enforcement agencies, this is a way to shift the burden of proof to the fishermen who want to do business legitimately. Then, if the good guys keep their transponders on, it will be even easier to spot shady behavior from afar. (You get a better ocean! You get a better ocean! Everybody gets a better ocean!)

Here I will utter environmentalists’ tepid catchphrase: All this is not going to happen overnight — but it is happening all the same. The Catapult project is in advanced test stages before its official launch. Amos believes there will be enough satellite coverage to generate a complete, uninterrupted picture of all the fishing in the world’s oceans in as little as three years. SkyTruth is currently working with nonprofit Oceana and Google to visualize all the vessel tracking data available — that should launch at the end of the summer, and give internet dabblers a more immediate sense of the ways humans move around the ocean.

“Just getting people to see this stuff is an incredibly powerful gateway drug,” Amos said. Which, if you like narcotic metaphors, is a pretty good one for the kind of citizen science that satellites have made possible.

Miss. allows red snapper fishing in July

 

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Mississippi fishermen Capt. Robert Earl McDaniel of D’Iberville, Miss. (Photo: Special to The Clarion-Ledger )

BILOXI, Miss. – Jamie Miller, executive director of the state Department of Marine Resources, announced the decision Thursday after the Commission on Marine Resources voted 3-0 to give him the authority to open a season in state waters.

“I value the relationship we have with our federal partners,” Miller said, “but at the end of the day, our agency must do what is right for Mississippi anglers.”

The nine miles of Mississippi waters will be open for red snapper fishing on July 4-6, 11-13, 18-20 and 25-27. The bag limit will be two red snapper per person, with a minimum size of 16 inches.

The federal red snapper season ran June 1-9. Most of the red snapper fishing is in the deeper federal waters near oil rigs

In 2012 the state Legislature approved extending state waters to 8 miles for fisheries management, and the law went into effect July 1, 2013. However, anglers are reminded the federal government does not recognize this distance, and anyone possessing red snapper farther than 3 miles south of the barrier islands could receive citations from federal or state law enforcement officers. Fishing between 3 and 9 miles in Mississippi waters is at the angler’s own risk.

The department is asking fishermen to participate in the agency’s voluntary red snapper reporting program during the July season and can report their catch on the agency’s website, www.dmr.ms.gov.

Eager young fishermen engage in salt water clinic

Eager young fishermen engage in salt water clinic

crb062814 fishing .jpg

Ashley Riley and her son Logan try to catch a fish during the Kids Fishing Clinic Saturday at Port Canaveral’s Cruise Terminal 3.(Photo: Craig Bailey/FLORIDA TODAY)

Nine-year-old Hunter Friedman flashed a broad smile as he held a new fishing rod and reel in one hand and his catch in the other as his father snapped a photo.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission teams up with other groups and volunteers to introduce children to the sport of fishing. Video by Craig Bailey. Posted June 28, 2014.

He was among hundreds of children Saturday at Port Canaveral for a salt water fishing clinic that taught youngsters the basics of angling as well as conservation methods to help perpetuate the natural resources.

While the rest of the children were trying out their newly learned bait-casting skills, Hunter used a different method.

“Well, I just drop it straight down where we see a lot of fish,” Hunter reluctantly stated. “I feel it pull and then I jerk it up and reel it in.”

The event was organized by Cape Canaveral-based Florida Sport Fishing Association and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The clinic was sponsored by the federal Sport Fish Restoration Program, which was created to restore and manage U.S. fishery resources. It uses money from excise taxes on fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels and import duties to provide grants to state agencies.

“Those funds are used to educate the public about fishing and to help increase fishing participation, including bringing kids into fishing,” said Amanda Nalley, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson.

The goal of the program goes beyond exposing children to the outdoor activity of fishing. It is an opportunity to educate children and parents about the rules and ethics of angling, such as catch-and-release methods and environmental stewardship.

“These programs are effective in getting the message out to the public and drawing excitement toward fishing,” Nalley said. “This really helps equip them with that knowledge.”

The Florida Sport Fishing Association was prepared with 600 rod and reels to give away, 1,500 hot dogs and 800 water bottles for people standing in line in front of Cruise Terminal 3.

Small groups of children went to stations where they learned about fishing gear, tying knots, conservation, marine life and how to cast.

The Cape Canaveral association has been involved with the annual clinic for 20 years with the intention of giving children a positive alternative to spend their free time.

“If we can get kids to spend their idle time on the water or near the water, fishing is a good activity that will be there for them the rest of their lives,” said Eric Griggs of the Florida Sport Fishing Association.

Chad Helpling of Viera was one of the first people the children encountered as he shared with them value of being an ethical angler and protecting the habitat.

“It is critical that the people getting into fishing understand that without the habitat, there are no fish,” said Helpling of the Brevard-based Florida Fly Fishing Association. “We have to be good stewards of the resource and take care of what is out there.”

After instruction and advice, children crowded along the Port Canaveral waterway to bait a hook, cast a line and give fishing a try.

Hunter, who was at the clinic with 12 other Cub Scouts from Winter Springs, caught three fish, including a sailor’s choice.

After he posed for a photo, he practiced the conservation method of catch-and-release.

“We unhook it and throw it back in the water so it can survive and other people can experience the catch,” Hunter said.

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