Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Norfolk, VA - I have been doing "Fish Camp" as part of Norfolk Collegiate’s summer program for four or five years. Jonathan and I started the first year with five kids and it has become a big splash. Last year Nicole and I had 13 young anglers. They range from about 9 to 14 years old and we all have a "reel" good time.
  For 5 days we take them to a different fishing pier each day and once we went out on a head boat for the day. The first few hours of the first day are insane. Everyone wants help at the same time, tie on hooks, cut bait, undo snags, cast, unhook fish, I have to go to the bathroom! Once most of the kids start doing things for themselves, it gets better. And thank God for my brother Richard. He volunteered as a helper several times and has been worth his weight in bloodworms.
Nicole, Bill and Richard with the fish camp kids from NCS
   The kids learn the names of all the fish they catch. They learn how to tell male from female sharks, rays, skates and blue crabs. Every fish caught is exciting and sometime blue crabs provide amazing entertainment scurrying around the pier. The largest fish caught so far has been a 35 lb. stingray. The smallest a one ounce sea bass. Stories about the days events dominate the dinner conversation at home for the week.
  The last day is bittersweet and there are always lots of hugs and thank-yous. They all shout a warm "Goodbye Uncle Richard" as we leave the pier for the last time.
  Send your kids to fish camp or better yet take them fishing yourselves. Be patient and have fun, even when someone decides it would be funny to put a minnow down someone else’s back. 

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