Kids Fishing Classes

By Spider Rybaak
Baldwinsville’s Ethan Pruner with the first fish he’s ever caught on a lure, and first smallmouth.
Mike Riordan’s dad planted countless memories by taking his boy fishing every chance he got. After his father died, Mike figured the best way to honor him was to pass on the many memorable lessons his dad blessed him with, and started day-long fishing seminars each spring at the Calvary Baptist Church in Brewerton. Over the years, his program has grown to attract thousands of kids and their parents, hooking them on this fabulous pastime.
I was honored to do a presentation on fishing from shore in Oswego County at the last event held on March 29. The enthusiasm shown by the children and their parents was unbelievable. Everyone had questions…so many questions; enough, in fact to make me walk away deeply troubled. After all, how can a parent teach a kid to fish if he doesn’t know how to tie a knot, bait a hook, the difference between a fly and crankbait…?
After giving the situation some thought, I contacted Mike McGrath, of McGrath & Associates Carp Angling Services (315)-882-1549); and invited him to join me in setting up a series of kids fishing clinics designed to help students from 5 to 75 to learn the ropes.
We held our first class last weekend at the Clyde River fishing access site at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. To no one’s surprise, it was a resounding success. You see, Mike is the Pied Piper of carp. Instead of using a musical instrument, he hooks them with an astonishing menu of goodies, chumming an area with grains and vegetables soaked in juice and syrup, drawing them from miles around to his feasts.
And they come…by the hundreds. Everyone within eye shot–on both banks and in boats–had encounters with the beasts; our students, most of all.
Mike ended up drawing fish ranging from 10 to a whopping 25 pounds. Needless to say, the kids and their parents were hopelessly hooked.
I conducted classes on lure fishing. While everyone was mesmerized by McGrath’s magic, I went off by myself and started working a Berkley PowerBait Atomic Teaser tipped with a Chartreuse Power Wiggler. In about an hour, I landed everything from smallmouths and crappies to bluegills and rock bass.
After catching his fill of huge carp, Ethan Pruner, like any youngster, started looking for other spots. I caught his eye and he came over to see what I was throwing. I showed him, gave him a pack of each to keep, tied the combination on his line, instructed him for a moment on the art of jigging and before you know it he’s battling his first smallmouth…and the first fish he’s ever caught on a lure.
Mike and I plan on doing several more clinics in Oswego County this summer. The first will be on June 2, at the municipal dock just off the northeastern corner of the US 11 bridge in Brewerton, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bait and instructions will be provided free, and loaner Shakespeare rod and reel combos—spin-casting and fly-fishing–will be available for the duration of the class. Anglers 16 and older must have a NYS fishing license. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
For more information, call me at (315) 633-1245 or Mike at the above number.
See ya there.
Mike McGrath holding Ethan Pruner’s first carp.

The Ultimate Fishing Town Contest: Vote for your Town!

World Fishing, the only 24/7 TV network dedicated to all segments of fishing, recently announced its Ultimate Fishing Town Contest, and invites everyone to help in determining the location. Oswego, home to two of the most famous rivers in the Northeast, the Oswego and Salmon, has two communities vying for the honor: Oswego and Pulaski. The town that wins the title will receive a $25,000 community donation, and will be featured in a segment on WFN as the Ultimate Fishing Town.

“It’s clear to those who live here that Oswego County has the ultimate fishing spots and the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts,” says David Turner, Director, Community Development, Tourism and Planning. “It’s time to tell everyone outside the state: Oswego has the top two Ultimate Fishing Towns in the Country!”

Voting is allowed every 6 hours and closes on May 31, 2012.
Cast your vote:

For more information on Oswego County and fishing destinations in Oswego and Pulaski, visit