As seven-year-old Sid Thomas Cox from England stood at the Give Kids The World Happy Harbor fishing dock’s edge, steadily holding his fishing pole and cheerfully chatting about his favorite Star Wars characters, he suddenly felt his fishing line yank in his hands.
“Do you think it could be a shark?” Sid excitedly questioned his dad and two brothers while reeling in the heavy mystery creature attached to his line.
Well, it turned out that it wasn’t a shark that Sid caught – but it wasn’t a fish either.
“It’s a wicked massive turtle!” Sid exclaimed.
As surrounding families ogled Sid’s surprising catch, he released the turtle in hopes of next time hooking an enormous fish.
Exciting fishing tales like this one are common at Give Kid’s The World’s Fishing Fun program. Just ask Michael Bresnahan, otherwise known as “ Mike the original fish whisperer,” who started the program.
Fishing at the Village is a catch and release program, and Mike says, “The only rule we have is that you have to kiss the fish on the lips before you let them go. The only compromise on that rule is that if you don’t, one of your parents has to. We have so much fun with that rule.”
Michael Hetchler has been volunteering for the fishing program for a year and is Fish Whisperer Mike’s lifelong friend and fishing partner. He also enlisted the help of Cathrina Wirick in running the program, and says fishing with the kids is “like catching your first fish all over again.”
Although the original fish whisperer has hung up his fishing poles at the Village for now, he keeps busy with something else that benefits Give Kids The World’s Fishing Fun program – the annual gumbo cook-off known as Gumbopalooza.
With the help of Steve Chapman of Fishing Florida Radio, this year’s event will take place next Saturday, November 10, 2012, at the Fish on Fire restaurant in Orlando, FL. Part of the proceeds will go to Give Kids The World’s Fishing Fun program. Last year, Gumbopalooza raised $5,500 for Give Kids The World, which provided new fishing equipment for the Village.
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Help support Fishing Fun at the Village by attending Gumbopalooza. To learn more visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/237389149696664/.