Kid's Fishing Day 'lures' Families to Moon Lake
April 26, 2013
FORT RILEY, Kan. -- "I got three!"
Hannah Benoit's smile widened as she reeled in her third catch of the day.
The 6-year old was out fishing for the first time at the Fort Riley Kid's Fishing Day April 20 at Moon Lake.
Hannah's mother, Christina, brought her two daughters out for the event, she said, in order to expose them to something new they wouldn't normally do as a Family.
"I don't fish, but they have so many volunteers out that I don't have to (know how)," Christina said.
Members of the Fort Riley Outdoorsmen Group, Kansas State University fishing team and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism were at the event to teach Families about fishing and help the children.
"They're friendly," Christina said as AJ Farmer, a K State volunteer, helped Hannah unhook her fish and practice casting.
"I get to help them fish," Farmer said. "It's great. I love it."
Farmer, who was heartened to see so many children come out to fish on a frigid morning, said it was a great way to get the kids out of the house and do something active.
"It's pretty impressive to see the kids that actually want to be out here," he said. "It's good to see that they want to be here catching fish or at least outside doing something active."
After taking a few minutes out to try to warm up, Hannah was at it again.
"Watch out!" she called as she swung her rod to the side, casting again in hopes of another nibble.
Several yards down the shore, Sgt. Jaime Nevarez, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, was helping one of his daughters clear a snagged line.
Jaime, an avid fisherman and hunter, relished the opportunity to share his passion with his girls.
"It lets me give them the rod and let them do it, as opposed to me doing it for them," Jaime said.
As Jaime "semi-fished" with three of his four daughters, his wife, Michelle, watched from the sideline.
"I'm more of a spectator," she said. "I don't fish, but the girls love it, so that's why I'm here."
Although the Nevarez Family came from Alaska, they were adjusting to the fickle Kansas weather. For many children, braving the cold as the wind whipped across the lake was harder than the fishing.
"It's a little chilly right now," admitted Steve Wahle, wildlife biologist technician, Environmental Division, Directorate of Public Works. "The lake is well stocked … When it warms up, they'll start catching more."
The goal of the event was to get kids outside, get them fishing and teach them how to fish, Wahle said.
Attendees ran the gamut from newbies, like the Benoits, to more seasoned fishers, like the Nevarezes.
Spc. Chaz Castilliano, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div., and his daughters, originally from Hawaii, had fished before, but never on a lake.
"They have an interest in fishing," Castilliano said. "We've never done lake fishing before, so it gave us an opportunity to try to lake fish."
Although they hadn't had caught anything so far, Castilliano said he was hopeful their luck would turn.
"They'll have fun once they catch something," he said. "The girls get impatient, but I find it relaxing. Whenever we do catch (fish), the excitement of them reeling it in and the look on their faces is priceless."
Despite the frigid morning, more than 100 children came out in the first hour of the event alone.
As birds trilled and a crane flew overhead, Families dotted the shore to enjoy some quality time in the great outdoors.
Children got a free tackle box with lures, bait and worms, snacks and a decorative hook. Poles also were made available for use at the event.