Families find simple joy in Take a Kid Fishing Day in Saugus

Derek Oliveira, 10, of Saugus casts out into the water at Camp Nihan. (Spenser R. Hasak)

SAUGUS — The sunfish along the shores near Camp Nihan Environmental Education Camp were well fed Saturday morning as a host of visitors enjoyed Take a Kid Fishing Day in Saugus.

“It’s so crusty,” said Connor DeSantis, 10, after holding a small fish he had caught.

The fish flopped in his hand before he released it back into the waters and joined his father, Lou, to try to capture some more wildlife.

“So does this beat playing video games?” Lou asked.

“No, not yet,” Connor said.

The DeSantis family was just one of several groups enjoying the day hosted by the Saugus Youth and Recreation and sponsored by Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and Tom’s Bait and Tackle.

Todd Blake and Paul Petkuwisch of Tom’s Bait and Tackle were helping visitors get their fishing rods ready to fish and unhooking captured fish. The local business has been involved with the annual event since 1999.

The day gave kids and their families a chance to fish without a permit and enjoy the nice weather for a day from 8 a.m. to noon.

“It’s nice to be giving back for the youth. We were kids at one time,” Blake said before trying to untangle a used fishing line. “We give these out perfect, but more often than not they come back looking like a bird’s nest.”

“It’s a really cool event,” said Melissa Ladid, who enjoyed the day with her son Khalid, “Paul does a lot of cool stuff for the kids.”

Close by Derek Oliveira, 10, and Adriana Santos, 9, were busy reeling in catch after catch on the camp’s beaches.

“I caught some beautiful fish,” Oliveira said.

Santos admired a small sunfish in her hands, one of several she caught throughout the day, before releasing it back into the water.

“Bye Bye Mr. Fish,” she said as it sped away into the deeper waters.

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