On a bright, sunny day in Sag Harbor, David Waksman picked up his son Evan from school and brought him to his favorite after-school activity. However, this was not just any ordinary activity for an 8-year-old and his friends—they were going fishing. After discovering a passion for fishing but realizing that there was no way for kids to practice the pastime in the area, Evan decided to start a fishing club for his friends and local families. “I wanted things to do with people, like fishing,” Evan said. He sat down with his dad and made a list of 12 things that he wanted to do, such as “go fishing,” “buy live bait,” “find/bring in local teachers” and “chefs – fillet/cook.” And his club, Kids Fish N Tales, was born.
Next, Evan and his dad talked to a variety of local fishing experts and others who could help out with the club. Evan’s first stop was the Sag Harbor fishing store, Tight Lines Tackle, where he talked to Ken Morse. Morse liked the idea so much that he and his daughters became the first members. Evan got the word out to his friends, putting up posters and making announcements at school, and his club grew. Currently, there are more than 70 local families enrolled. They will have meetings throughout the summer, and Joe Tremblay, of the Bay Burger restaurant in Sag Harbor, offered to host a few of them as well as talk to the children about the local oyster seeding program. They are going to learn how to cook fish from one of the dads in the club, and David would like to have fun family events for everyone to enjoy.
I was lucky enough to go fishing with Evan, David and his friends on that gorgeous day. When David told Evan, his sister and his friends that they were going fishing, they let out a “Yay!!!” and their faces lit up. We went to a pond in a quiet neighborhood in Sag Harbor, and the kids immediately grabbed their poles and nets and went to work. They caught some small fish and tadpoles, and pointed out the large turtle that lived in the pond. They even made me hold one of the fish! Their excitement and enthusiasm for the joy of fishing was amazing to see in such young children.
Evan is a very good fisherman, too—he told me stories about fish he has caught in the past. “I caught a fish this big, and it was a Koi and I named it Mikey,” he said. He’s been trying to catch Mikey ever since. Evan has also caught a dog shark and a garfish, both of which are large and have sharp teeth! But he told me he was not afraid, and handled the situations like a pro. Evan and his dad always bring their fishing poles when they travel, and they always make friends when they go fishing. They have fished in places such as Washington, Pennsylvania, and even as far as India. In the future, Evan said that “I want to go clamming, oystering, fishing, crabbing, all that stuff.” He learned from his favorite television show, “River Monsters,” that one of the most important parts of fishing is to talk to local people, and he has adopted this idea for his club as well.
David also noted that the club is a great opportunity for the kids to learn about being eco-friendly; moreover, the fight to save the environment will be more effective if children are involved. “I don’t think there’s any better voice than a bunch of children,” he said. All in all, David wants to give the children a story to tell. “The key thing here is we’re looking for adventures. Kids walk away with something they can tell their friends and be excited about. As far as I’m concerned, that’s fishing.”
If you would like to join the club or help out in any way, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. [/expand]