When it’s springtime in DeSoto County, the fishing poles come out.
It’s a family activity for those who grab their rods, reels, along with bait and tackle, and head out to a nearby watering hole, wet the line and look for the next big catch.
Parks and recreation departments in DeSoto County are also promoting the sport of fishing, or angling as some may say, as a means of getting the kids away from the TV and video game screens and get them out to enjoy the outdoors.
“It’s a good family event,” said Larry Calvert of the Horn Lake Parks and Recreation Department Saturday. “We’re providing a good service for the city and citizens here. It’s a good bonding time for the parents, both fathers and mothers, and it’s getting the kids out of the house and away from the TV, video games and stuff.”
Horn Lake Saturday became the latest of the DeSoto County parks departments to hold a Fishing Rodeo to give children a try at fishing. Saturday’s event was held in a pond at Latimer Lakes Park.
Southaven and Olive Branch this spring have held similar events for youngsters, at Jim Saucier Memorial Park and the Olive Branch Soccer Complex, respectively.
The kids start at a specific time on a Saturday morning to cast a line into the water and seek out a fish during the morning. Prizes in different categories help entice the youngsters to come out and take part. Mom and Dad can help their child, but they can’t do the fishing for the youngster.
Calvert said the Latimer Lakes pond had a lot of fish for the youngsters to work for, fish of all sizes.
“We have catfish and some bass in here,” Calvert explained. “We put 500 pounds of catfish in Thursday. We give out awards for the smallest fish, largest fish and then the overall largest fish.”
Saturday is not the only day the Horn Lake pond is fished. Jennifer Morris, a science instructor at Horn Lake Middle School, said she brings her Science Club students out during the school year.
“We have an annual fishing day with our Science Club students,” Morris said. “We come out here and most of them had never fished before, so we just come out here for them to try it. We bring all of the poles and the bait and they just show up.”
Morris added the fishing day is usually done on a day classes are not in session.
“We usually do it on a Monday holiday, like Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” she explained. “That’s when the kids are out of school, so we bring them over here to go fishing.”
For Jasmine Bassett of Southaven, Fishing Rodeo day is a great time for the kids.
“They get fish every time they have it,” Bassett said. “You never know what you’re going to get.”
Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.