Nancy Turner, Nathan’s mom, started the event by explaining that the
fishing clinic is held each year in honor of Nathan and to bring the
joy of fishing to families. Nathan was a lifelong fisherman and
member of the Park District. She said Nathan would have been proud
of the wonderful program.
Herb Dryer is a lifelong advocate of fishing. “It is a hobby boys
and girls can enjoy for life,” he said. “Families can have fun
together anywhere, and you don’t have to have a lot of fancy
equipment.” Dryer stressed that safety is of prime importance when
fishing. A person needs to be aware of their environment and be very
careful when casting. If there are a lot of other people in the
area, a person may have to modify their cast to ensure the hook
doesn’t catch on a person. “Holding the pole vertically against your
body when removing a fish is important,” Dryer said. “It ensures
that no one will step on your gear as might happen if you place it
on the ground.” He also mentioned that some fish have sharp spines
so knowing what kind of fish has been caught and how to hold it
safely is important to avoid getting jabbed with a needle-like
Dryer said that catching a fish is exciting, the most satisfying
part of fishing. To this end, having the correct equipment is vital.
Bluegill, the Illinois state fish, is a popular fish to catch, but
they have a very small mouth. If that is your quarry, then a very
small hook, a tiny piece of bait, and a small bobber are essential.
Dryer said he is an impatient fisherman. If he doesn’t get a bite in
thirty seconds or so, he will gently move his line a few feet to
test another area. The small fish like to hide in weeds and branches
to avoid larger fish, so knowing where to cast is vital. “It’s all
about catching fish,” Dryer said. “When you get a bite, tug gently
on the pole to set the hook, and then reel it in.”
After a demonstration of how to tie a hook to a fishing line using
the improved clinch knot, Dryer passed out large hooks and line for
everyone to practice. Kids and their parents put their heads
together to practice knot tying.
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Finally, Herb Dryer talked about the ethical issues involved with
fishing. Because many areas have limits on the size of fish that can
be caught and kept, it is essential to know the State of Illinois
rules for each species of fish. Therefore, being able to identify
fish and having a measuring device handy are important. “We want to
make sure we maintain a healthy fish population for the future, so
releasing undersize fish is important,” he said. “Also, we don’t
want to keep fish we have caught when it is spawning season for that
species.” Dryer also stressed that it is important never to throw
live bait fish in a pond or stream. They can contaminate the water
with unwanted species. “And, clean up the area where you have been
fishing before you leave,” he said.
This Saturday, kids and their parents will get to put all of the
knowledge they learned at the fishing clinic to good use at the
Nathan Turner Youth Fishing Derby at Hickory Lane Campground in
Atlanta. The free event will have lots of fishing poles for the kids
to use and help from expert volunteers. The event runs from 9:00
a.m. to noon.
[By CURT FOX]
Nathan Turner was a young leader serving his community near
and far as a Lincoln alderman and involved in international
humanitarian outreach at the time of his untimely death in 2010.
Resolution honoring Alderman Nathan Turner