A rainy Friday wasn't the best day for fishing. But the dismal weather didn't stop some determined youngsters from wetting a line. Between scattered showers, they caught catfish in the middle of a shopping center parking lot.
It's a unique program called "Kid Fish". The traveling display set up a portable pond in the parking lot outside Academy Sports in Gulfport.
Youngsters ignored the scattered showers and turned their attention to hundreds of hungry catfish. A portable tank isn't exactly Grandpa's farm pond. But the fishing fun is much the same.
Jody Jackson is the spokesman for "Kid Fish".
"We travel around the country teaching kids and families about fishing and the outdoors. We go to schools and nursing homes and stores like this Academy store, all in an effort to just introduce people to the outdoors and fishing and how much fun it really is," he explained.
Anxious kids watched the bobbers and anticipated excitement. Sometimes, landing the big one can be a bit overwhelming. Especially when it flops off the line.
"I got one", screamed one little girl, who then shrieked when the sizable catfish flipped off its hook.
Kid Fish creates such memorable moments around the country. The primary purpose is promoting family fun with a hook and worm.
"Every child loves to fish if given the opportunity. Unfortunately, in these days there's not a lot of family time. And there's not a better family activity than to go fishing," said Jackson.
Fishing teaches patience. Catfish can be finicky.
Eight year old Victoria Russell had some advice for her fellow fishermen.
"You have to have a lot of courage and you have to be patient," she advised.
Such patience paid off for her six year old sister, Caroline. She caught a big one, but wanted no part of touching its whiskers.
No, it isn't Grandpa's pond, but that doesn't much matter The children's reactions around the portable tank are priceless.