Fishing isn’t always easy. But in Indian Land, learning to fish is.
For the third consecutive year, the Sun City Carolina Lakes Sport Fishing Club is partnering to host free fishing events in conjunction with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. They will be the third Saturday of each month April through September at Grandparents Park in Sun City.
The April 16 event runs 1-4 p.m. Clinics are intended to be family events.
“It’s for the young and old,” said Davis Klein, vice president with the fishing club.
“We’ve had people as young as 6, and as old as 86. We teach them and when it’s time we send them down to the lake, and believe it or not they actually catch some fish.”
The Sun City events are the closest on a list of 17 free family fishing dates statewide running April through September. More than a third of the events statewide are in Indian Land. Which, with promotion by the state department, tends to draw a wide crowd.
“All over the place,” Klein said. “We get people from Columbia coming up. We get people from Mooresville coming down. The radius has to be 100 miles.”
Participants learn to bait hooks, tie tackle and operate rods and reels. The Sun City club sent 12 members down for a training in Columbia, spending four hours learning the basics of teaching fishing.
Sarah Chabaane organizes the family fishing events for SCDNR, along with fishing rodeos where law enforcement and state wildlife staff host fishing opportunities for children. A fishing rodeo will be held May 21 at the Draper Wildlife Management Area in McConnells.
“The rodeos are designed to hold a higher capacity of participants,” Chabaane said.
The free family events like those in Sun City have up to 30 people at a time. Anyone age 4 and older can participate. Groups like the Sun City club are integral in helping to teach fishing statewide.
“Those are pretty consistent year to year,” Chabaane said.
More events may be added throughout the season, which typically runs spring through fall. Participants can register online at dnr.sc.gov.
Klein said his group obviously has an interest in fishing, but also in getting people outside in the sunlight. Fishing is a great way to keep from staring at a screen, he said, from children plopped in front of video games to adults working on tablets.
“That’s our opening spiel,” Klein said.
“We say we’ll teach you to fish, but even if you don’t catch a fish you get to spend some time outside in nature, getting some fresh air. People are so inward bound. This gives you a chance to get outside.”
Clinics are 1-4 p.m. in April, May and September, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. June through August.