Most youngsters from the Rusk Settlement Neighborhood Center on Houston’s inner city East side have never been fishing, That changed May 22 when Bass Busters of Houston took them fishing at the Freshwater Junior Anglers Club in Baytown, Texas.

“These kids don’t have the opportunity to get involved in outdoor activities like fishing. For some of them, the only recreation they’ve got is hanging out and getting in trouble. We thought it was a great chance to show them something else, Bass Busters has always been a big supporter of getting kids hooked on fishing, so our members jumped at the chance to do this, It’s our way of giving something back to the sport,” said Ed Parten, Bass Busters President.

Bob Jones, founder of the Freshwater Junior Anglers Club, has the same philosophy, so he readily offered FJAC’s private 50 acre lake for the day and waived the $5,00 annual membership fee for the Rusk youngsters. FJAC is a fishing club for Houston A Baytown area youth and their parents that schedules regular tournaments and educational activity for its members- If the child does not have fishing equipment Jones was able, until recently, to provide it for the day. He lost all the equipment in several recent robberies and is working to replace it.

About 50 Rusk youngsters among 6 and 16 bank fished for bass, bream and catfish. Bass Busters provided one on one fishing instruction. Each child received a rod and reel to take home, thanks to Zebco. The children also received ribbons and other prizes. US Customs Service was there with one of its drug sniffing dogs, and the Coast Guard provided instruction on water safety, And the young fisherman will be taaught about conservation.

Rusk Settlement, one of 28 Houston area community centers operated by Neighborhood Centers, Inc.,, a United Way Agency, provides diverse services to youth, families and the elderly on the city’s predominately Hispanic East side, The youth programs, aimed at high risk youngsters, provide educational and employment counseling, a place to go on weekends and after school and teach leadership and self esteem.

“We’ve had tremendous support in getting this organized,” said Pam Ashley, Bass Busters’ chairman for the event, “The members have talked to all their contact and their employers and no one turned us down. Pepsi is donated all the drinks, Eckrich gave us 250 hot dogs and we fed these kids, The list just goes on and on. And the club gave up our regular tournament weekend to do this. Nobody’s seen a kid yet who didn’t grin when they caught their first fish. So we think it’s worth it.

Bass Busters, chartered in 1969, is one of the oldest clubs in the Houston area. Many of it’s 50 members are active in TBBU.

“We’ve sort of adopted these kids,” said Parten, “Next year we plan to put on a fund raising tournament for Rusk. Their goals are really the same as Bass Busters and TBBU’S, We all want to give kids every chance possible to grow up drug and crime free and become productive adults, And we think fishing can help do that.”

( Publisher’s Note : Here is an organization worthy of your help. Please call Bob Jones at 713-474-7710 and ask how you can help.)
– Lake Mohave

– Lake Mohave