Learning to fish can change lives for inner city kids

Rod Wynn is a tournament angler born and raised in Southern California. He recently had the opportunity to get back to his roots and share his passion for fishing with kids from the community he grew up in.

I grew up in Inglewood and the neighboring cities of Los Angeles, California. As an inner-city kid from the 70’s, I experienced and fell prey to many distractions; some good, some bad. And, if you weren’t careful, those type of distractions or pitfalls would have led most people down the wrong path in life. At a very young age, my father introduced me to the sport of fishing. It was the turning point that I needed to keep me out trouble. However, fishing was challenging back then, because of the lack of resources and access to inner-city youth. There weren’t any fishing workshops or seminars or local fisherman to learn from. Often times, I’d try to access TNN (The Nashville Network) so I could watch a few famous fisherman like, Bill Dance, Roland Martin, Jimmy Houston, and Orlando Wilson, hoping to learn new techniques.

Unfortunately, not much has changed for today’s inner-city youth who are interested in the sport of fishing. Tackle shops are still rare in the inner city, fishing commercials and advertisements are non-existent, and the lack of family support prevails. There is not a lot of opportunity for today’s youth to learn about the sport of fishing, let alone bass fishing. Jack And Jill of America, Incorporated’s programming activity had been planning a fishing clinic for over a year. I was asked to conduct a kid’s fishing clinic, and on April 15, 2023, it came to pass. I was honored to be in that position to host my very own Kids Fishing Clinic and give something positive back to the youth of my community. At the same location where I learned to fish and ultimately Bass fish!  My goal was to educate and teach the kids a few life skills and responsibilities through fishing. Once they grasped the concept of fishing, it enabled them to learn patience, teamwork, and how to relax and put safety first.

Rod with his wife, Shirley and son, Ryder

Lastly, I would like to commend the efforts of Jack and Jill of America Inc., Inglewood Chapter who provided the platform to conduct the clinic. My son Ryder Wynn is a member of this Chapter. I will admit, it feels good to know that the fishing clinic has left a lasting impression on all who participated. Hopefully it will bring out the angler in one of these kids! I would also like to thank all my sponsors and partners, Sunline America and Phenix Rods, just to name a couple for their continued support in conjunction with their products that were used throughout the clinic. 

Lessons learned from fishing 

  • Fishing teaches kids to learn from every mistake.
  • Sometimes, the things we think we want, we just need to throw back.
  • Being disciplined and having a can-do spirit will take you a long way.
  • The lesson is that often-times you may have to do seemingly dull and tedious tasks, but they can pay off in the long run. Just stick with it.
  • Don’t lose sight of your surroundings. You can’t take advantage of an opportunity if you don’t see it coming.

More from Rod Wynn.

This article was originally published in the Best On Tour Newsletter.