Trinity Young, 12, had never baited a hook before, but on Saturday as she reeled in carp after carp at the Lake Murray Marina, a young fisherwoman was born.
“I’ve never fished before, but I like it, my favorite is letting them go,” Young said.
Young was just one face among the 33 children who left their disabilities on the shore in favor of a day out on the water on a guided fishing tour of Lake Murray as part of the Catch A Special Thrill charity fishing event this weekend.
C.A.S.T. Western Regional Director Jim Behnken said his organization has impacted the lives of over 25,000 children in its 27 years of service. And on Saturday, Behnken said it was great to have another chance to take kids fishing and get them plugged into the outdoors
“We’re all about introducing families with special needs to the outdoors,” Behnken said. “The electronics, video games, television — all that is great. But there’s nothing like getting your family together in the outdoors.”
“Sure we want them to have a great time today, but what would really swell my heart the most is to come here in the next few weeks and find one of these families out here fishing and having a big old picnic together.”
Last year C.A.S.T. brought the event to Lake Murray but was limited to just two boats. However this year, after partnering with the Lake Murray Yacht Club, the event launched more than 30 boats onto the water simultaneously.
Lake Murray Yacht Club treasurer Terri Pinkston said the event just made sense for the club.
“This is a great cause and we just really wanted to help C.A.S.T. get as many kids as possible out on the water,” Pinkston said. “The Yacht Club’s purpose is to get people out and enjoying Lake Murray. This is just another example of what we want to do.”
With high winds, the fish weren’t necessarily biting on Saturday. But with enough fish food and some dedicated help from the guides at the dock, the kids were setting hooks in no time.
“It’s pretty cool seeing people take time out of their weekend for kids like my daughter,” Trinty’s mother Debbie Young said.
After the boats returned, the Yacht Club served lunch and had an Easter egg hunt.
“A lot of people look at this and say ‘so what, you showed them how to fish.’ Sure we showed them how to fish this week, but next week parents may say ‘you went fishing last week and you didn’t think you could do that, lets try this this week,’” Behnken said. “This is good for families.”