That’s 6-year-old Savannah Morgan with a 27-inch gar. Harvey Caldwell is holding the toothy critter for her before releasing it back into the water.

Savannah and twin sister Caroline were participating in a wonderful slice of Americana last weekend on the shoreline of a small pond off Knotts Island’s Capps Creek. The small community around the pond served as host for the inaugural Bruce Barefoot Memorial Kids Fishing Tournament organized by Caldwell and supported by members of the neighborhood’s housing association.

Barefoot was the long-time owner of Footers Sports Pub in the Kempsville area. He loved to fish.

The event brought back memories of how things used to be: good, home-cooked food that included some insanely good deserts, adults and children having a great time on a wonderful Saturday afternoon, outdoors, in nature, and not cooped up in front of a video game.

Simplicity… we could all use a lot more of it these days.

The contest featured 15 kids in a 5 to 10-year-old division and nine for those 11-15. Savannah also caught an almost 7-inch sunfish while Caroline had a 12-inch largemouth bass and a sizable snapping turtle. The kids enjoyed a whiffle ball game before the fishing tournament began.

No, this doesn’t have anything to do with boating. But it took everybody back to the days when youngsters learned the joy of the outdoors and the thrill of catching a few fish. Even a tiny, 4-inch yellow perch brought the same cheers and applause a bigger fish did.

Sitting back and observing the goings-on, I, too, was taken back to my youth and first fishing experience – digging worms out of the garden, putting them on a hook and lowering them into the water, watching patiently while the cork danced on the surface, the thrill of seeing it disappear and catching a bluegill.

This is how most of us got our introduction to fishing, turning it into a lifelong passion. At day’s end, the kids won prizes for the top two fish caught in categories for several species. Some took home small fishing rigs and some tackle, all ready for the next experience.

And, unknowingly, they helped bring back a little slice of the “good ‘ole days” that some of us are really starting to miss.

So if you get a chance, whether you have a boat or know someone with a pond, take a kid fishing. Chances are, you’ll get a lot more out of it than you think.

To follow some of my other work, go to: