Commissioner ‘hooks’ camp youngsters on fun of fishing

“Catching the big ones” requires patience and know how, Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto recently advised a group of summer campers at one of Miami-Dade’s popular parks.

“I could show you one of my ‘big ones’ but it got away,” laughed Souto, surrounded by 30 T-shirted summer campers, ages 6-14.

With 75 free rods and reels contributed by “Fish Florida,” more than 80 camping kids were able to try out their skill at a Tropical Park lake on June 25, coached by a team of professionals.

Experienced guides Roberto Icola of Westchester along with David Gaudens of Miami Springs distributed the equipment as part of the “Open Spaces” program featured during Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation summer camps this year.

Both members of the of the EcoAdventures Program on Key Biscayne, the pair coached camping groups in basics from casting to catching as well as identifying a “catch” in trial runs at Tropical Park’s lakeside pavilion.

Fishing gear was provided by “Fish Florida,” a statewide non-profit assisting organizations to promote Florida fishing while protecting the environment. Proceeds from motorists purchasing a “Fish Florida” license plate help offset costs. Tags went on sale for the first time in 2004 with at least 75 cents of each dollar from tag proceeds used for conservation education and fishing with donated equipment, grants and scholarship funding.

For details of the Parks Department Open Space program and co-sponsored Parks Foundation programming, call 305-755- 7804. For details on Fish Florida, visit online at

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