Local fishing program focusing on the basics
TURTLE TOWNSHIP It wasn't the fishing that bothered Jerelee Zwieg.
It was the boys.
When her dad dropped her off at Sweet Allyn Park for the Rock County/City of Janesville sponsored lessons, Jerelee was reluctant to be the only girl in a group of 10 or so boys.
But it turned out fine, partially because Jerelee already knows something about fishing and was able to help the boys with tying knots and untangling bobbers—and partially because fishing is fun.
Wednesday's event was the first in a series of four joint city-county, learn-to-fish events.
The first goal is to teach kids to fish; the second is to introduce them to parks and outdoor spaces that are new to them.
Joleen Stinson, Rock County Parks community coordinator, received a $5,000 grant from the National Parks and Recreation Association that allowed her to buy the fishing poles and supplies for the program.
"It's the very basics of fishing: how to tie a fishing knot, how to set up a pole, the different types of poles and how to put the worm on the hook," Stinson said.
The program allows the city to share resources in difficult economic times and expand its outdoor offerings, said Shelley Slapak, Janesville Leisure Services recreation coordinator.
But no one was thinking about shared resources Wednesday, unless those resources were worms.
Some of the kids, such as those from the Perdue family, grew up fishing, said their mom, PollyAnna Perdue.
Doug and Zachary Perdue cast like experts and frantically searched for the best spot.
Other kids were still working with the basics.
"Worms are wriggly," observed Walter Harrison, 7.
Jerelee, who had been fishing with her dad, understood wriggly, but she asked Slapak to put the worm on for her.
"They can get ka-pooshed," Jerelee said. "Then you can see their guts."
Well, nobody wants that.
Chase Kennedy, 8, was getting the hang of casting, more or less, when his line got caught on a branch. He untangled it. It got stuck again.
"Dude, I think your line is caught again," said Jerelee, stepping in to help.
Slapak encouraged Jerelee to tell her female friends from school to come to the event. She agreed and commented that she liked fishing with her dad, Randy Zwieg, best.
Why is that?
"He's a dad and pretty much knows what to do," Jerelee said.
IF YOU GO
What: Fishing instruction for youth ages 6-15.
When and where:
-- 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, Kiwanis Pond, off of Palmer Drive, Janesville.
-- 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, Gibbs Lake County Park, 9103 West Gibbs Lake Road, Evansville.
-- 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, Monterey Park, 500 block of Rockport Road, Janesville.
Cost: $6 per session
To register: Pre-registration for each class required. Visit Leisure Services, 18 North Jackson St., Janesville.
More information: Contact Janesville Leisure Services at (608) 755-3030.