Aboriginal kids learn fishing basics

Some impressive casting skills were on display along the banks of Lake Illawarra yesterday from a pint-sized group of newly hooked fishermen and women.

The 27 youngsters answered an invitation extended to the region's Aboriginal community by Lake Illawarra police and the Department of Primary Industries to attend a fun and educational fishing workshop.

After a morning spent learning about fishing rules, safety, fish conservation and habitats, knot tying, line rigging, baiting and casting techniques, the kids got a chance to put their new knowledge into practice.

Jerrone Brown, 11, of East Nowra, quickly learned the importance of patience while waiting for a big bream to take the bait.

When asked if he planned to keep practising all the new skills he had picked up, Jerrone nodded an emphatic "yes".

Although he had fished a little in the past, the youngster said yesterday he had learned to bait his own hook and attach a sinker.

Lake Illawarra police Inspector Steve Johnson said the workshops were a great way for kids to learn a new skill while also connecting with their elders.

"These workshops not only offer Aboriginal children fishing skills, they also teach them social interaction skills and provide a great opportunity for parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles to share their knowledge," he said.

Each child received a rod, reel, tackle box, hat and sample bag so they can throw in a line whenever the mood strikes.

"This dedicated fishing workshop ... is an opportunity for them to enjoy a day of ... activities, learn a few new skills, take away a greater understanding of fishing and the management of our fisheries resources - and most of all have fun," Inspector Johnson said.

Kids can visit www.dpi. nsw.gov.au/fisheries/recreational to learn more about recreational fishing.

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