LaCentra, who recently relocated from South Florida, has been fishing since she was a little girl. “I raised my son to have a passion for angling,” LaCentra said. “When we moved here, I thought my teaching his favorite sport, fishing, would be a great way to help him transition and make new friends.” La Centra’s son, Jeremiah, is a sixth grader at The Learning Center and a participant in the elective.
Konehete Park is home to carp, golden redhorse, and bass. These have been the main focus this season. LaCentra’s catch and release program teaches fishing techniques and offers spinner reel, bait caster, and fly fishing opportunities. They experimented with live bait, lures, and other techniques. Students also learned how to properly remove a fish from the water, hold a fish to remove the hook, and how to gently release a fish back into the water. “This is a great way to learn many aspects of the world’s largest and most prolific sport,” said LaCentra.
LaCentra, who was a certified Emergency Medical Technician in Florida, has both salt water and fresh water fishing experience. “I have fished the Atlantic from Massachusetts down to the Bahamas, as well as the lakes and Everglades of Florida,” she stated.
The fishing elective, open to boys and girls in fifth through eighth grades, covers many topics including pollution, water table levels, conservation, and the natural environment. “From tying knots to learning what fishing line strength is the best for their specific rod, reel and bait,” said LaCentra, “I like to say, ‘Any fin is possible, if you don’t trout yourself.’”