Along with providing a means for better fitness, fun, and friendship, sports are also metaphors. Written into the fabric of each are allegories that counsel on, reflect, or celebrate life.
From baseball, we learn that no matter how far our travels take us, there’s no place like home. Batters learn that one can fail two out of three times we try and still succeed. Basketball truly shows that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. Football prepares us for conflict, as teams hurl bullets and bombs to penetrate defenses and gain territory.
But perhaps no activity teaches us more about friendship – even love – than fishing. With rod in hand, we are shown that patience trumps panic. There are times to tug harder, times to allow a little slack, and times to let go altogether. From fishing, we understand that what we see on the surface isn’t always a reflection of everything going on.
The bigger lessons will someday reveal themselves to the dozen wide-eyed youths at last week’s fishing camp at Carrboro’s Anderson Park Pond, sponsored by Carrboro Recreation and Parks. For now, it was simply about catching fish. And judging from the smiles along the shore, fishing was certainly getting its hooks into a number of the young anglers.
Instructor Joe Currin said the real trick was keeping the kids’ bait in the water.
“With 12 kids, you’re busy re-tying, you’re hooking … and you also try to (teach) safety,” he said. “After that, we try to grab one kid at a time … so they’re not listening to anybody else, and you teach them a little bit about the equipment they’re using. Some of them have never held a fishing rod before.”
Currin said many of the kids, ranging from 8 to 13 years old, had never fished at all before.
“We try to teach them how to tie the little knots and then re-tie them over and over,” Currin said. “Some of them have never messed with worms, and some of them have never touched a fish before, so we teach them how to properly handle a fish, to respect it a little bit, and how they can put it back in the water.”
Last week’s series of afternoon sessions were the second of two summer catch-and-release fishing camps offered by Carrboro. Young anglers learned the basics of rigging rods and lines, baiting and casting, and tying fishing knots. Currin said catfish caused the most stir at the camp.
“There used to be crappie in here, but I haven’t seen crappie in the sessions I’ve been teaching,” he said. “We’ve been catching a lot of these small bream, a couple of bass, but mostly catfish.”
Currin, father of former Chapel Hill High standout pitcher, Oakland Athletics system signee, and current local personal baseball instructor Patrick Currin, said fishing was one of his son’s first loves.
“Patrick won the Fishing Rodeo at Strayhorn’s Pond back when he was around 12,” he said, laughing. “He caught about 12 huge shellcrackers. He couldn’t even hold them all up for a photograph.”
Joe Currin said, even when he’s not teaching fishing, it’s still one of his favorite activities.
“Patrick and I both love to go fishing,” he explained. “Golfing takes four hours, so I quit doing that on weekends, but I can go fishing for two hours on a weekend and be back by 8 o’clock with a good mess of fish.”
Carrboro recreation and parks supervisor Julie Collins said campers seemed undeterred by summer heat.
“We had the same numbers out for the camp,” she said, “and it wasn’t too bad with the heat because they were underneath the trees there and there was a nice breeze. This past week, the trouble’s been the rain.”
Storms on Wednesday were emblematic of the week’s changeable weather.
“During the rain, water was just pouring off the children,” Collins said. “ Two or three of them got cold because they got wet. I told them they had to move and get circulation going.”
Collins was pleased with the camps’ turnouts.
“It was all new kids this time,” she said. “There was one kid there this week that had gone to last year’s camp though.”
New to the camp was Yuna Kim, 12, who fished alongside her younger brother, Seung-Jik, 10.
“It’s just so fun,” said the elder Kim, who had nearly landed a huge catfish the previous day. “He was right (by the shore), and he just got away.”
Like many others completing the camp, Yuna said she would like to tackle bigger waters.
“I think it would be real fun to go out to Jordan Lake,” Kim said.
“One woman who had her grandsons here wanted to take them fishing at a lake next week after this,” Currin said, “and I told her University Lake was probably the closest.”
Area anglers young and old can take advantage of fishing at Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) lakes. The recreation hours at University Lake are 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. The normal hours at the Cane Creek Reservoir are from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. The lakes are stocked with bass, crappie, catfish, and a variety of sunfish, but you need an N.C. fishing license.
For more information, customers can contact Lakes Warden, Eric Barnhardt at 919-942-5790 or Senior Assistant Lake Warden Bob Glosson at 919-942-8007, email email@example.com, or visit the recreation link on the OWASA website ( owasa.org
). Customers can also call OWASA at 919-968-4421.
For young and budding fisherman, Carrboro will offer another one-day clinic later this month.
“We have a clinic on July 28 taught by instructor Shane McKinley,” Collins said. “Anyone interested just needs to call our main number to register at 919 918-7364.”
Whether or not fishing disclosed any monumental wisdom to the 12 young camp attendees last week, the sport has certainly reeled in a few enthusiasts. And like the fish themselves, often the bigger meanings are caught in their own time.