Kokomo: Time for 34th annual Kids Fishing Clinic Registration

Kids hold up their catch at a previous Kids Fishing Clinic graduation tournament." Photo By: John Martino

Kokomo is home to one of the most unique youth programs you’ll find anywhere in the United States. It’s hard to believe over three decades have passed since a special group of children and volunteers came together for the inaugural Kokomo Kids Fishing Clinic. It happens because of a unique partnership involving government entities, national corporations, area businesses and a huge number of area men and women. This summer will be no exception as preparations are being finalized for the 34th annual Jim “Moose” Carden Kokomo Kids Fishing Clinic.

Sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College, SRS, Kokomo Tribune, City of Kokomo, WWKI, Adams Auto Group, IMI, Indiana American Water, UAW Local 685, Coca-Cola Bottling, First Farmers Bank and Zebco, 135 children will be afforded the opportunity to learn nearly every aspect of the great sport of fishing.

Registration opens Monday, June 12 starting at 8 A.M. at the Kokomo Conference and Event Center, 1500 North Reed Rd. Kids do not need to be present. Cost is $25 payable cash or check. Because of the usually large turnout it is recommended to arrive early.

Students must be between the ages of six to 15. It is important to note that even though the Clinic is limited to the first 135 that register, all informative class sessions are open to the public. Since we believe the “F” in fishing stands for “family”, parents and other family members are encouraged to attend with their student.

Classes are taught by our area’s most prominent and successful anglers and will take place July 17, 18, 20, 25 and 27 from 6:30 pm to 9 pm at Kokomo High School. After these informative presentations children will then “graduate” by competing in their very own three-hour long fishing tournament. All students will have the opportunity to fish from bass boats operated by qualified adult boat captains. The graduation will be held July 29 from 7 A.M. to noon at the Kokomo Reservoir.

During the opening session every child receives a quality Zebco classic rod and reel plus lure package which is theirs to keep. They will also learn about fish identification and outdoor safety. During the following days students will receive expert casting instruction while learning a lifetime of fishing techniques from our best fishermen and women. After casting practice all participants convene to the spacious auditorium where they have the opportunity to view presentations from state and nationally known guest speakers.

Students then attend two informative classes where almost every topic associated with fishing is covered. Presentations explain types of artificial lures and proper use, live bait, outdoor ethics and types of fishing equipment. Students even have the chance to learn about ice fishing and how to clean real fish. Each evening following class instruction the children then re-convene to the auditorium where over 100 door prizes are given away. This has been appropriately titled “Happy Half Hour.”

It doesn’t take long to realize those who love the outdoors are some of our community’s most generous and caring people. This becomes evident as everyone involved with the Clinic shares the commitment to provide a positive outdoor experience for our youth, as did the man whose name the Clinic honors.

More than 180 volunteers help participants develop an increased sense of self-reliance with our aquatic resources. This special fraternity of men and women anglers provides a warm and helpful atmosphere which allows students to feel comfortable. These instructors do a superb job in passing on knowledge and skills which can be cultivated for a lifetime of success and enjoyment.

Enough cannot be said about the army of volunteers who make the program possible. Because of their sincere dedication to excellence the Kokomo’s Kids Fishing Clinic was recognized by the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame as one of the top outdoor oriented youth fishing programs in the United States.

Regardless of age, the sport of fishing is one of the few activities that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. It can also provide common ground between adults and children – even at times we feel there is none.

Teaching a child to fish usually provides our environment with a much needed friend in the future. If you teach a child to fish today, you won’t have to fish for your child tomorrow. Everyone associated with the Kids Fishing Clinic considers it an investment into our nation’s number one natural resource – Kids!

Click here to download a clinic registration form

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John Martino
Martino is a well-known outdoor writer throughout Indiana and has served as longtime outdoor columnist for the Kokomo Tribune newspaper. Martino has won numerous awards for both his writing and his service to youth, conservation and the community. He recently retired as Superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the City of Kokomo and now works as Ivy Tech Executive Director for Facilities for the Kokomo region.

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