Families Enjoy Free Fishing Day On July Fourth

"Oh, that was not right," Donna Taylor said with a smile as she showed her daughter how to cast a line.

With mom by her side and grandpa watching, four-year-old Elaina Dunning was learning how to fish for the very first time.

"Are we getting a nibble?" Donna Taylor asked her daughter.

"Uh huh," Elaina answered.

For the Biloxi family, fishing and celebrating America's freedom go hand in hand.

"Something we would typically do on a holiday like this, Fourth of July," said grandpa Donnie Taylor. "The children love to go crabbing, and they're just learning to fish."

"Zack, are you getting any bites yet?" Norman Coleman asked his nephew.

For them, July Fourth means a quiet, relaxing day on the water. They ended up on the Popp's Ferry Causeway, where the fish were jumping, but they weren't biting.

"Not yet, we haven't been here long enough," Coleman said. "This is the only place I can go right now without a crowd and without getting too many snags."

Many families haven't been able to return to their favorite fishing holes since Hurricane Katrina. The storm destroyed so many piers, like Urie Pier in Gulfport, forcing many people to find other places to cast their lines.

"We typically would take the children crabbing and fishing out on the Lighthouse Pier or the old, old Ocean Springs Biloxi Bridge, which of course are no longer available for us," Taylor said.

But on this holiday, it didn't matter, because Elaina finally reeled in her first fish.

"Oh it croaked!" Elaina shouted.

"What kind of fish was it?" her mom asked.

"A croaker," Elaina responded.

"And what does a croaker say?" asked mom.

"Uhg," Elaina answered.

And grandpa, couldn't be prouder.

"It's a little more inconvenient now, but it's well worth it," Taylor said. "Just to see that look in their eyes when they catch something, that is really a big thrill for me."

Even though anglers are not required to have a recreational fishing license on the Fourth of July, they must still comply with all size and possession limits for any fish they catch.