Hundreds enjoy youth fishing rodeo at Harrison County Sheriff’s farm

Published: Oct. 16, 2021 at 4:34 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Saturday’s cool weather made outdoor activities more pleasant, especially fishing.

8th grader J.J. Goldsmith was one of the first to cast a line into the fish-filled waters, but wasn’t impressed with the small brims he was catching.

“It’s ok. I’ve caught bigger,” he said.

Goldsmith has been fishing since he was six years old, but the experience wasn’t needed in order to participate.

The Mississippi Wildlife Federation hosted the event for anyone 15-years-old and younger. Coastal Conservation Association, HH Rods & Reels, B’n’M Poles and Walmart all provided rods and reels for families without one and some of the organizers even taught people how to bait and cast their lines.

Some families wanted a relaxing morning by the water, but others, like 4th grader Andrew Wasson, had his eye on the prize.

“You may catch a big one. You may win,” he said. “Hopefully I catch a big fish, a big catfish.”

He’s no stranger to fishing, using a tried and true technique to reel something in.

“Get like a tiny rod, like a push-button and put a tiny little hook on there and get a worm or hot dog and just drop it down there,” he said.

While the desire to win was a factor for many, some competitors said the day was all about having fun and spending time with loved ones.

“I’ve never caught a fish here before,” 4th grader Kaylee Lasso said.

Her luck changed for the better after she snagged a brim with her grandfather by her side.

“It feels really good,” she said.

The hobby is also getting families like the Cortezs out of the house.

“They can get the experience of getting to know nature,” 6th grader Josue Cortez said.

And whether it was fish or memories, families went home with something special.

A cook crew from the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office also cooked food for some of the families.

“I can keep it as my treasure,” Cortez said.

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