Math teacher Ross Benson started the Metcalf Junior High fishing club in 2010 with some simple benefits in mind for students: meet friends, learn about fishing, learn about water ecology, and to fish. The simple approach has reeled in plenty of participants.
The club meets a handful of times after school to learn about different types of fish and how to catch them, practice casting, tie knots and even learn jig making. Plus, they’ll take two or three field trips per year, sometimes just walking from Metcalf to Cedar Pond to fish for sunnies. Other times, the club has fished the Mississippi or gone ice fishing at bigger local lakes. On one trip to Crystal Lake, more than 70 kids and parents gathered to fish, grill and have fun out on the ice.
Benson, who grew up in Burnsville and graduated from Burnsville High School, says his summers were spent waking early to catch minnows in a pond near his house before riding with friends to fish at Lake Alimagnet. He just wants to pass that enjoyment on to the students he sees every day.
“Fishing is an excellent sport that is fun and can be very inexpensive. It keeps kids off the couch and gets them outdoors and having fun,” he said.