VIRGINIA BEACH — Children traveled to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge on Tuesday, July 26, to participate in a fishing clinic led by members of the Great Bridge Fisherman’s Association. The clinic is held in the summertime, and the final one is on Tuesday, Aug. 9.
Lori Bowen, tournament director for the Great Bridge Fisherman’s Association, said the clinic is an outreach program for local youth held in coordination with the refuge staff.
“It’s something good to do,” said Cliff Graf, a retired Navy pilot from Chesapeake who serves as the club’s secretary.
“It’s an outreach to children in the community,” Bowen said. “You can have local people, out of town people.” She added that the group does other community events, including fishing programs for senior citizens.
“It’s great because we can teach them,” she said.
“The park supplies the rods and all the bait,” said Steve Bowen, a consultant and Lori Bowen’s husband.
“We supply the knowledge,” Lori Bowen said.
Bob Stocker of Great Bridge, a member of the association for nearly 20 years, baited a hook for two brothers from Castleton, Colin Benson, 10, and Aidan Benson, 8.
“That’s yours there,” he told one boy, who took his spot to fish.
Andrea Benson, the boys’ mom, said they have come to the clinic for the past two years.
“They love fishing, and I don’t know what I’m doing,” she said. “Bring them to someone who does.”
Their favorite part?
“Catching a lot of fish,” Aidan Benson said. “The first time I came here, I caught a fish. Another time, I caught two at once.”
Bowen worked with Caden Houghton, 11, of Little Neck. Bowen suggested rebaiting the hook every 15 minutes. She also talked about how to see something chasing fish by watching them jump from the water.
“I just enjoy learning how to fish,” Houghton said. Last time, she added, “I caught a kingfish and the other one got away.”
She caught a small fish moments later.
“Nice job,” Lori Bowen said. “You caught the first fish of the day.”
“I caught the last fish last time,” Houghton said.
“Well,” Bowen said, “let’s do it again.”
The next clinic for children 15 and under is scheduled for 9 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 9, at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, 4005 Sandbridge Road. Children must be accompanied for an adult. Call (757) 301-7329, Ext. 3106, to register or for information. The clinic is free, but an entry fee to the refuge may apply. For more on the Great Bridge Fisherman’s Association, visit fishgbfa.com.
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