Kids fish for school supplies, family ties (Video)
- unverified comments
Thank you for your submission.Error report or correction
One Port O'Connor man said he has been fishing the bay for 52 years. He knows all the tricks - how to bait a hook, where to look, when to go.
On Saturday, during the 12th annual Speedy Stop Kids Fishing Tournament, Daniel Gayle got to see this experience put to use by his 5-year-old grandson, Antonio Gloria.
"He watched me bait my hook and now he is going to start doing his own," Gayle said, watching Antonio play with the bait. "He doesn't want to watch me again because he saw it once already."
Gayle and Antonio's father, Aaron Ochoa, have brought Antonio to the tournament for the past three years.
"Last year, he ate the bait," his dad said, laughing and shaking his head at the memory. "He is really fast. He ate one before we knew it."
This year, Antonio caught three fish before 8 a.m. and cast so hard he almost fell in the water, but his dad quickly pulled him back.
He would catch more he said, but "I keep getting my bait stolen by the Grinch."
Gayle said he appreciates Speedy Stop coordinating the tournament.
"The community looks forward to it," Gayle said. "But the fishing community is even bigger. People know about this; they come from all over. They get excited about it."
The tournament, however, provided more than just an opportunity to fish.
Speedy Stop and its vendors gave away back-to-school goody bags to the 500 kids fishing in the tournament.
Filled with crayons, markers, paper and even a new backpack, the gift is partly why Brizi Avalos, mother of two, said her family left Port Lavaca at 5 a.m. to be early for registration, which opened at 6 a.m.
"It is awesome," she said. "It helps a lot. School supplies - they are expensive. And they just gave us markers, crayons, pencils, paper."
Her daughter, Brianna, 7, was fishing for crab to enter into the competition. She caught one that was 5 inches across because, she said, she is experienced.
"If you want to catch a crab, you go with a net to catch the big ones and you scoop it," she demonstrated with her net. "With a pole, you put it in and pull it out slowly."
Speedy Stop also provided lunch for the contestants and their families after the tournament.
"We have some of the best hunting and fishing in the country, not 40 minutes from downtown Victoria," said Jim Angott, advertising manager for C.L. Thomas, the parent company of Speedy Stop. "And they (kids) are catching fish one after another and they are just grinning from ear to ear."
He said that grin, the excitement he sees from the kids, is why he, and about 50 other employees, donate their time to the tournament each year.
"That look on their faces - it is why we all get up at 4 in the morning to be here," he said.
Gayle said fishing has been a good way for his family to come together.
"It is better than other ways, like sitting and watching TV, where you don't get any back and forth communication," Gayle said. "And it is a little faster than growing a garden. You get to see a result right away. It is something to do, and you are getting food to put on the table."
The tournament wasn't about winning, Gayle said. It was about spending time together learning to fish as a family.