Teaching children to fish, a thrill to remember

Jeff Guy Newton Kansan @jguy_kansas

The organizers of a fishing event for children want to give the youngsters a thrill they will remember.

This year marks the 10th annual C.A.S.T. “Catch a Special Thrill' For Kids fishing event, which will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Harvey County East Lake.

 The one-day fishing event is for children ages 6 to 14. However, older kids with disabilities can also sign up. To participate, all children must be registered.

Anyone wishing to register their children can call Halstead police officer Jennifer Motes at (316) 835-2266 or Kansas State Tom Spencer at (316) 606-3747. The registration deadline is June 8. There is room for up to 35 children to sign up.

Each child will spend one hour in a boat, fishing with a law enforcement officer and another hour signed up with a professional tournament bass fisherman, Spencer said. After catching the fish, they will turn them loose.

“If we can introduce a family to fishing and give them a positive experience with a law enforcement officer, that's a plus,” Spencer said.

The professional anglers go over basics of fishing safety and ethics.

Spencer said C.A.S.T. For Kids is a great opportunity for children who want to pursue careers in law enforcement or as firefighters and EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians).

Along with the KHP, there will be officers from the Harvey County Sheriff's Dept., Halstead Police Dept., Newton Fire/EMS and Halstead Fire/EMS.

Every child who participates in C.A.S.T. For Kids will receive a C.A.S.T. T-shirt, hat with a logo, Zebco rod and reel, Plano tackle box with tackle and bait. There will be an awards ceremony and every child participant will receive a photo plaque and certificate of participation. At noon, the KHP will treat all participants to a barbecue.

“We leave them wanting more,” Spencer said. “By the end of the day, they have had such a great time, they don't want it to end. That's what we want. We want to make it a thrill, something they'll always remember.”

Spencer said he does not know if any of the children from the early years of C.A.S.T. For Kids are planning to go into law enforcement, but he does know of some who are pursuing careers as professional anglers and park and wildlife rangers.

“You never know where they're going to go and how you're going to touch their lives,” he said.