Linda Messmer photo
Jake Harden, 9, and his sister, Kennady, 2, practice fishing at Craig Park over the Labor Day weekend. They plan to attend the Fun Fishing Day on Sept. 17 with their mom and dad, Jaime and Mark Harden.
Brazil and the Brazil City Parks and Recreation Board will host a Fishing Fun Day at Craig Park, 8-11 a.m. on Sept. 17. The opportunity to fish and learn about the sport is offered free to kids age 16 and younger and adults 66 and over with no special requirements. Anyone ages 17-65 may also fish, if they have a current Indiana fishing license. Kids age 10 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
Almost every child loves to go fishing, especially with their dad, mom or maybe a big brother or sister. It gives them a chance to dream, commune with nature and to bond with that special family member. If you would like to fish, but think you don't know how, this day is especially for you.
Before the fishing starts, L. T. Clark, a local fishing enthusiast, will teach the basics of fishing. Instruction will include fishing and water safety, hooking a worm, how to tie a knot, spin and bait casting, bait presentation, fish identification, how to catch and release fish and bobber fishing.
A day fishing with dad, watching the bobber circle, bob, dip and then go under the water, can be one of the most exciting things a child can experience. Even if the hook reels in empty, the occasion combines the peacefulness of rippling water with the love of a caring, patient mom or dad. That warm memory can last a lifetime for the child -- and the parent!
The Brazil Times Editor Frank Phillips remembers such an experience he shared with his son, Terry Jr., who was about age 4 at the time. The Phillips family lived in Elkhart, Ind., near an abandoned railroad spur that led to a pond. On one sunny day, the two walked down the track, little feet and big feet picking their way through obstacles of rails, raiload ties and cinders.
Terry used a cane pole, probably with a bobber and no hook on the line while Frank used his trusty Zebco tackle.
"We sat in the cinders and fished, talked a laughed a while," Frank said. "We both ended up filthy from the cinders and soot.
"When we got home, my wife, Linda, took one look and said, 'You got him dirty, you clean him up.'
"So I gave him a bath while we both laughed at how dirty the water became. Then I bathed while Mom helped him dress.
"It's still one of my favorite memories."
Now Terry is married and has a 2-year-old son and infant daughter. But he has a boat and before the baby was born, Terry took his wife and son fishing. They will probably all go again, when the baby is at least big enough to walk.
Brazil used to have fishing rodeos at Forest Park in the 1950s. They were discontinued for various reasons and water no longer flows under the bridges. But Craig Park's large pond is stocked with fish and offers the opportunity to introduce a new generation to those children's fishing events so fondly remembered.
More than 50 prizes will be given away at the end of the Fishing Fun Day at Craig Park. There will be food coupons from The Freeze, Pizza Hut, Subway, The Soda Fountain at Lynn's Pharmacy and Dairy Queen. Door prizes include a flashlight from Sam's Hardware, Catch 'em Totes from Kelly's Bait and Tackle Shop, a $10 gift certificate from Wal-Mart and $5 gasoline certificates from the BP gas station and convenience store.
Monetary donations from banks and Mayor Tom Arthur will purchase grand prizes of a bicycle, rod and reel and CD player.
The Fishing Fun Day will not be competititve. All prizes will be awarded by random drawing.
Children should take their own fishing pole and there will be some equipment available for children who do not have their own.
Adults are welcome to go and watch the fun.
Linda Messmer is a member of the Brazil City Park Board.