Tuscaloosa, AL – It's summertime and most kids hit the park to participate in sports or head to their rooms to play video games. But many area children still enjoy one of Mark Twain's favorite pastimes fishing. Alabama Public Radio's Pam Doyle went to the ninth annual West Side Bass Fisherman's Catfish rodeo. She brings us their fishing tips and tells us why they love the sport .
Few bars of Summertime .fade under .
No easy living for the three to fifteen-year-olds and their families at Lake Lurleen Park. Many of these kids got up at five-thirty in the morning and by the time the contest started at eight, even though the temperatures were crawling up towards 90 degrees they were itching to start
All the kids that's leaving to go to the water you gotta come back you gotta come back I know you're hot and you wanna go but we want every child to have an opportunity to catch a fish so I want you all to come back and stay and listen to the rules
With this kind of drive, it's not surprising that many of these kids like Carrie Deerman, Derek Hampton, Bethany Fondren and Garret Walker, don't hesitate to tell what they like about fishing and why it's their preferred activity for a hot Alabama summer day
I like catching big ones laughs
It teaches you how to take time and just sit down and wait
cause you're outside and you get to catch fish and eat um
It's always a surprise when you catch something look at that!
The boys, girls, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and friends have come from cities surrounding Northport today to compete but as each group slides their worms, crickets, or chicken livers onto the hook and casts their lines, you can tell that's it's mostly about having fun and passing on the skills and lessons of fishing from one generation to the next.
Hook the liver on good . (reporter: Did it take you awhile to learn that that's kinda gross? ) I don't hook it on my dad does, but it still flies off sometimes.
You have to look at the thing that's on the top and then when the fish comes, it'll go down and you have to reel it in real hard.
You gotta fish near the wood that's what my daddy taught me.
Mr. James Thorton and Garrett Rucker's dad mix fishing with their values and philosophy .
Be patient and the fish will come we do it every Saturday because its something we can do together.
It's a way of teaching about life. You don't always catch a fish and that's a lesson in itself.
One fishing lesson many of these kids haven't learned, is that you're supposed to keep your favorite fishing hole a secret
We have a lake behind our house I like fishing there.
Down in Fosters, my dad's friend has a fishing club.
In lake Fort in Texas.
But everyone is crowded around Lake Lurleen today as the sun beats down kids cast and adults coach
Take the drag up, take the drag up a little bit there. What's a drag?
Get you line up buddy get your line up hold your tip up, that's the way you get the big ones you wear them out
At first, one very shy three-year-old fisherman doesn't even realize he's got a bite
Jake's got one yelling . father coaches son to reel it in
The fish fighting on the end of his line turns out to be huge
Good job Jake..man!
At least compared to Jake
That's a catfish!
It's only a couple of inches shorter than him. Jake Hammond still may not win the prize for the biggest fish, but today all the participants get star treatment. Each one poses while parents take pictures of their kid's catch.
I gotta get a picture, let me get a picture of you with it.
And everyone is granted bragging rights because these kids have learned the job of fishing but they've also learned the job of telling a good fish tale about the big one they caught
I caught one in kindergarten, it was it was about a foot or so long it was a catfish.
At least fifteen pounds that's the biggest one I caught.
I catch one fish and it was humongous I think about like a ruler and then some!
or the bigger one that got away .
I was under a bridge and I hooked a catfish at the bottom and me and my dad and my mom all tried to reel it in but we couldn't and finally we had to cut the line.
Have you ever tried to catch one and it got away?
Uh hum. But I caught him later.
You did? How did you know it was the same one?
I saw that mark.
Well, last time we was down here and I was fishing and this big humongous catfish got away and I got mad and decided I would stop fishing.
But you're back?
Well not too long ago I caught something it was pretty big and it got away from me.
How did you feel?
Pretty sad but I kept on truckin!
For Alabama Public Radio, I'm Pam Doyle
Tag: More than 630 children participated in this year's fishing rodeo. The West Side Bass club gave out prizes of fishing rods, reels, and videos to winners in all age categories.