PORT ARANSAS, Texas — Tuesday, the 31st annual Chemo Kids Fish Off was hosted in Port Aransas by Driscoll Children’s Hospital and the Coastal Bend Guide Association.
The event paired more than a dozen Driscoll cancer patients with local fishing guides; for a day out on the water catching fish.
Lucas Jones, a nine-year-old Driscoll patient, participated in the event for the second straight year. He managed to catch eight fish.
“I wasn’t expecting to catch one,” Jones said.
Included in his eight fish was a 27-inch redfish. Jones described the fight the fish put up.
“It was super tiring, I had to reel it in until it was tired, then my captain got a net and scooped it up,” he said. “I felt really accomplished, and I felt really good.”
Jones went on the water with captain Cory Russell, a local fishing guide. Russell participated in the event for the first time this year. He said he enjoys fishing with his kids, and that’s what inspired him to volunteer this year.
“I know if it was my kid in their shoes, it could be the happiest day they spend,” he said. “Just to put a smile on his face, and give him a good memory, that’s what it’s all about.”
Nathan Smith, a registered nurse at Driscoll, has been working the event for nearly a decade.
“It’s an amazing thing the local guides put on for our patients,” he said. “It gives them a chance to get out of the hospital, enjoy a day out on the water, catch a fish or two. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.”
Smith said the smile on Jones’ face when he caught the fish Tuesday made his day.
“It’s awesome to watch the joy on his face,” he said. “There’s nothing better.”
The Chemo Kids Fish Off is made possible thanks to the money raised from the Saltwater Sweeties Ladies Fishing Tournament. The fishing tournament will be held on August12-13 this year in Aransas Pass.