Kids are Hooked on one of B.I.’s Newest Camps

Thu, 08/01/2013 - 1:00pm

Dotted with an estimated 365 freshwater ponds, Block Island is the perfect setting for fresh and saltwater fishing, for skillful and mastered fishers. However, these days many of the children who visit the island have had the experience of fishing — which is where the Fishing Academy of Block Island steps in. 

With this in mind, friends Greg Swienton (yes, of the Swientons of Twin Maples Bait and Tackle fame) and Ian Pollock founded and now direct the Academy, which is designed to teach children ages 6 to 15 the basic skills and techniques of fishing. 

The two lead the four hour sessions four days a week. Each session is spent at three separate locations, Coast Guard beach and two fresh water ponds, so that students have the opportunity to catch both freshwater and saltwater fish, including scup (if you’re a Red Sox fan, says Pollock, Yankee fans call it porgie), fluke, and largemouth bass. 

In each session at the Academy, students learn basic casting and reeling techniques, basic fishing safety, how to land a fish and de-hook it, and they’re also taught about the importance of nature conservation. Each session ends with a filleting lesson, and if students hook a fish of appropriate size and catch limits, they can bring their catch home for dinner. 

“You don’t need any fishing experience at all,” says Pollock. “For most kids it’s the first time they’ve fished, or it’s the first fish they’ve ever caught.” 

This will be the Academy’s third year and they’ve had nothing but “incredible positive feedback,” says Pollock. “We’ve had people tell us they came back to the island just for the Academy. The kids always say they love it. But the best compliment we’ve ever gotten was when an eleven year old boy told us it was the best day of his life.” For more information, visit