Cast a line: Fishing with the judge

What began as a budding idea, will soon become an annual event that aims to introduce kids to the sport of fishing and bring families together to create fun memories.

Cameron County Justice of the Peace Benito “Bo” Ochoa IV will host a fishing event on Saturday, June 12 from 9 a.m. to noon.

“Fishing with Judge Ochoa” will be held in Port Isabel at the Pirate’s Landing Fishing Pier.

“Summer just started and I know that last summer wasn’t what we expected,” Ochoa said. “Now we have a little more understanding and there’s a bunch of vaccines distributed so it’s a good time to get the families back together to kick off the event and summer.”

Social distancing will be enforced and volunteers are welcome.

The first 150 kids get free fishing poles and the first 150 adults will receive free T-shirts.

The event will also have a DJ, door prizes, giveaways and free treats, such as hot dogs, chips and cokes.

There will also be a knot-tying station where fishing guides will teach parents and children how to tie fishing knots.

“We’re putting over 200 fishing poles for free in kids’ hands. Maybe they can fish more throughout the summer with their parents,” Ochoa said. “It’s educating people on what we have in our backyard and the access we have, which is the Laguna Madre Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.”

According to Ochoa, the event originated from his cousin Joe Vega, a former mayor of Port Isabel who hosted fishing with the mayor events.

Ochoa said the event had a couple of hurdles to overcome to get to where it’s at, but everything looks like it’s coming together.

“This is something that I’ve been trying to do for a while, but last year COVID hit and it wasn’t good timing,” Ochoa said. “This year, we got the green light and I was able to coordinate with different sponsors. They were all on board and thought it was a great idea.”

Ochoa said the event has even caught the attention of people from all over the Valley, even from cities, such as McAllen and Mission.

“We welcome people from the upper Valley, Brownsville and anyone who wants to come,” Ochoa said. “This event’s for everyone, especially kids.”