On Sunday October 21st, Sierra Club ICO led a fishing outing to Jamaica Pond. It was a brisk, windy fall day, bathed in bright blue morning skies. Elementary and middle school kids and agency staff from both East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (5 kids, plus Michael and Aparna) and Zumix (9 kids, plus Michael) gathered with our Trip Leader, Allan, and several ICO volunteers (Chris Agee & Brian Powers) to make our way by "T" to J.P. Special thanks to our agency representatives Michael of Zumix and Mickey and Aparna of EBNHC.
After gathering by the JP boathouse, our boisterous troop walked about a half mile up along the shore to a long, thin, rocky beach gently sloping into the water. We began with opening circle, saying our names and favorite animal. Wild cats and domestic dogs received the most votes!
Then it was time to prep the fishing rods. Allan demonstrated the correct technique for casting and the kids paired off and spread out down the beach to practice casting into the stiff on-shore breeze. A short while later, confident in our newly honed skills, it was time for hooks… and worms. “Ewwwwww...!” went the collective din from the audience. Everyone was respectful of the need to be careful of the very sharp barb on the end of the hooks. Soon the children were laughing, intrigued and grossed-out equally while dissecting worms into little bite-size pieces for the fish.
Everyone did very well, except the worms! The rocky bottom was scraping them free before the fish could bite. Out came the secret weapon, neon marshmallows! The kids were as fascinated as I was by using tiny marshmallows died in eye-watering neon patterns to attract the fish. Success! Several small fish were hooked & reeled in by our intrepid team of youngsters; their beautiful silver and blue scales glinting in the sun. All fish were released after brief photo shoots.
Lunch time was upon us, but this was a strictly catch-and-release trip. So we moved base camp up to the lush, grassy hill overlooking the beach where we caught PBJ and turkey, ham, and cheese sandwiches. We also had delicious fresh apples and bananas as well as pretzels. After lunch, we split up into two groups. Some of the kids climbed trees and explored the JP shoreline, while most of the kids stayed on the beach to continue fishing. Though the clouds had moved in and the wind picked up, it had been a great day out for all. We regrouped on the beach for beach cleanup and closing circle. Everyone shared their favorite part of the day and bid farewell to the fine fishing of Jamaica Pond.