Lakewood OH
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Fourth-grade fishermen cast their lot on Lake Erie

The lines are out. (West Life photos by Larry Bennet)

The lines are out. (West Life photos by Larry Bennet)

Rocky River fourth-graders had a chance to tell a few fish stories when they got home from school last Friday.

Chris Baxley spits on the worm for good luck.

Chris Baxley spits on the worm for good luck.

The fish weren’t cooperating, but the weather finally did, as Kensington Intermediate School students headed by the busload to Bradstreet’s Landing for their annual fishing expedition. This was the 12th year for the outing, which was started by fitness teacher Linda Neitzel.

Neitzel, who enjoys fishing herself, said she decided to teach the students about the sport so they could learn an activity perfect for families that can be enjoyed at any age. “We introduced the kids to fishing because we wanted them to learn about our natural resources, and about our native fish,” said Neitzel, as she helped a student bait a hook. The students also practiced casting in the school yard.

“We used minnows last year, but the kids played with them and took them back to school in their water bottles. So this year we went back to worms,” explained Neitzel. Asked if the girls were more squeamish about the night crawlers than the boys, she said it was about a tie. Imani Sims, who was fishing along with her parents Fayth and Corey, had no trouble making her feelings about the worms known. “Yuck!” she exclaimed, wrinkling her nose.

For those who shared her opinion of the bait, music teacher James Stermole was on hand to help bait hooks and give advice. “I come every year,” he said, adding that he and retired music teacher Denny Vires fish quite a bit. Vires owns a charter fishing boat at the Lorain marina.

Ryan Willse caught a good-sized sheephead.

Ryan Willse caught a good-sized sheephead.

Stermole said he was surprised that this was the first time handling a fishing pole for many of the students. Asked why the fish didn’t seem to be biting, he said, “Our fishermen don’t have a lot of patience.”

There were plenty of false alarms, however. “I caught one!” hollered Tommy Hendricks, only to be disappointed that his hook had snagged the lake bottom. “This is hard. When you fish your rod bends,” chimed in Jordan Lucciano. Leanna Nasrallah said she was having fun on her first fishing trip, even if she wasn’t catching anything. Alicia Donati was a veteran among the group, having fished before with her dad. Asked if she ever caught anything, she stated, “Once I caught a big fish.”

Syd Allen also caught a good-sized sheephead.

Syd Allen also caught a good-sized sheephead.

That could have been the one that got away.

 

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