Many of us have fond childhood memories of spending the day fishing with our parents or grandparents.
And doing its part to create future memories by making fishing accessible to as many kids as possible is the Ascarate Fishing Club.
“The club itself is more of a teaching club, where we teach kids the basics of fishing,” said club president Juan Salas.
Aside from four annual Kids Fishing events, the nonprofit club regularly visits with elementary school students and certifies student coaches through the state to serve as instructors.
“We have a day of fishing for the kids and we provide them with everything – the fishing rods and the bait. And it’s totally free, we don’t charge the kids a penny,” Salas said. “We giveaway trophies, medals, T-shirts. Kids never have to worry about bringing anything – and they always go home with something.”
Anywhere from 300 to 1,000 kids turn out to each event, which means the club relies heavily on donations, Salas said.
But kids aren’t the only ones who benefit from the fishing club.
“We provide fishing and fishing instruction to wounded warriors, elderly people from nursing homes, special needs kids and adults, blind and deaf individuals and church groups,” Salas said. “Our club is not a bunch of guys sitting around drinking beer. We really try to give back as much as we can to the community.”
Other fishing clubs across the borderland are more social in nature, but still strive to do their part to better their community.
EPT Fishing is one of them.
“We’re basically a fishing club with a Facebook presence that provides readers with information on how to fish and where to fish. We’ll give reviews on new fishing venues we’ve visited; basically, we give our members any help we can pertaining to fishing,” said Pedro Chavez, one of the club’s founders.
Members also share photos and videos of their trips, and announce their next outing for other anglers to join them.
“We provide answers to all kinds of fishing-related questions,” said Chavez, adding that the group has also lead clean-up efforts at area lakes to keep the grounds clean, safe and attractive. “If it has to do with fishing, we go out of our way to have fun, and provide a service to anyone who needs help getting started in the sport.”