Hearing someone say, "I caught three fish!” is not an uncommon phrase at Family Fishing Night. When asked how big the fish were, a child holds his hands 5 inches apart and proudly proclaims, “They were huge."
The events are hosted by Outdoor Recreation the third Tuesday of the month between March and October.
Family Fishing Nights began in 2008 with the hope of bringing families together for a fun, bonding experience.
Since then, events have more than tripled in size. The events are held at Russ Park, located on Main Post, where Russ Pool and Russ Pond are located. Many years ago, the pool was chlorinated for recreational swimming. While human swimming is no longer permitted, the fish certainly enjoy it.
From 6-8 p.m., Outdoor Recreation provides poles and bait for participants. Don’t worry, wiggly worm-haters, corn is also offered as substitute bait. For those new to the sport, the staff can teach you all of the basics — how to tie on your hook and weights, casting and how to reel in a big fish.
Children ages 15 and younger are eligible to fish at these events and are not required to carry a Georgia fishing license or a Fort Benning fishing permit. Parents and older siblings are encouraged to help out and do not require a license to do so.
Russ Pool and Pond are stocked annually with fingerling catfish by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, something it does throughout the state to facilitate a more exciting fishing experience for kids. After the stocking, the fishing areas close for approximately six months to allow the fish to grow. Throughout that time, the fish are fed every other day.
Fish caught in the pond are typically larger in size than those pulled out of the pool. The fish are plentiful but do tend to bite slower in the pond, which can be frustrating for young children. If your little one doesn’t have the patience to wait for a bite, head on over to the pool, where catching a fish is almost guaranteed. Finish the day off with a reward trip to one of the two playgrounds on site.
Join Outdoor Recreation on Sept. 20 and Oct. 18 for Family Fishing Night. If you can’t make it on either of these dates, Russ Park is open for fishing any day of the week. For more information, call 706-545-7978.