Program teaches kids how to make their own fishing poles

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Sunday, January 27, 2013

— Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to build his own fishing pole and he might be filled with pride.

Or frustration. Or both.

On Saturday, about 10 kids and their parents made fishing poles in the gym at The Salvation Army, 514 Sutherland Ave. The Janesville Noon Optimists sponsored the event, which was led by members of the Custom Rod Builders Guild.

These weren’t the sad-looking bamboo poles you made at camp. No, these were the reel—pun intended—deal.

The project started with the rod itself. Kids added the handle, the reel seat and all the eyes that run up to the top of the pole and hold the line. Each of those eyes has to be attached to the rod with thread and must line up exactly with all the other eyes. It was exacting work.

Ed Karawcki, a member of the Custom Rod Builders Guild, admitted it was hard for kids to be patient.

“They just want it right now,” Karawcki said. “But usually they work at it for an hour or so before they start running around the gym.”

That’s why the seminar came equipped with plenty of grown-ups to help keep everyone on task.

Ben Stuckey, 13, of Janesville and his dad, Carey Stuckey, both made fishing poles.

Ben finished his first, which meant he got to watch his dad struggle with the tiny eyelets. Carey would get one of the eyelets done only to discover he had inadvertently let another one unravel.

Ben was enlisted to help hold threads while his dad finished out the eyelet.

Since it was a fishing event, fish tales abounded.

Jacob Evrard, 8, of East Troy tried to convince a non-angler that he’d caught a “red-eyed pike.” His mother, Becky Evrard, and grandmother Jan Evrard gave him away by giggling.

“They mostly catch pan fish,” Jan Evrard said.

Jacob’s 10-year-old sister Aurelia Evrard also made a fishing pole. The whole family goes fishing together, and their favorite spot is Phantom Lake, she said.

Carey Stuckey reminded his son of the time Ben got to help haul in a big northern.

By 2 p.m., many of the fishing rods were resting in specially designed holders so the epoxy around the eyelets could dry evenly.

The kids were clearly pleased with their accomplishments—but that’s not the best part of the project, Karawcki said.

“They’re proud to make the rod, and then they’re even more proud when they catch a fish with a rod they made,” he said.


Last updated: 8:11 am Monday, April 29, 2013

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