The fishing rodeo at James Island Elementary School’s fall carnival Saturday started out like fishing often does: slow with few bites.
Parker Grimmett, 12, had the large pond at the school all to himself as he began making casts with a small spinner. But it didn’t take long until he was joined by other young anglers, many of them hoping to land their first fish.
By day’s end, more than 20 youngsters (along with a few parents) were flipping crickets into the water and hauling in bream.
Members of the Charleston Coastal Anglers, the area’s oldest active fishing club, put on the rodeo with proceeds going to an elementary school fishing program headed by PE teacher Pat Harrington. Since joining the school, the avid angler began taking students to the outdoor classroom and showing them how to fish. The program is part of Positive Behavior Interventions and Systems, and students must earn a chance to fish with “Mr. Pat.”
Harrington’s friend, Joey Polk of the Charleston Coastal Anglers, heard about his efforts with the students, and in the fall of 2011, four members of the anglers group showed up to help with the first fishing rodeo. The youngsters kept them busy, so this time they made sure they weren’t short-handed with 10 club members available for an afternoon of fun.
The club purchased cane poles and fiberglass Bream Busters, brought crickets and worms, gave away hats and T-shirts and had trophies for the winners.
“All the people we know in the fishing business gave us a good deal and helped us out,” Polk said. “We’re going to try to have another one in the spring, and we’ll reuse the equipment for that.
“The look on these kids’ faces is priceless. It means a lot to see them catch a fish.”