This column will cover events of the past two weeks plus this weekend. Over this period most of my fishing time has been spent in the company of a special group of people at the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association (CDFGPA). They are a dedicated group of conservationists and fishing enthusiasts that give new meaning to the word volunteerism.
I spent three days involved with the Fishing Forever Program. It is a fulfilling and humbling venture to take part in this fishing program that helps people of all ages and abilities to enjoy a day of fishing in safe, secure facilities and having a high probability of catching a nice trout. A special “Thank You” to all the participants who make these challenging events such a success.
The Family Fishing Weekend- Father’s Day event is another challenging affair. Attendance on the Saturday was down a little from past weekends, but Sunday more than made up with a full attendance throughout the day.
Of the vast number of activities we do during our lives, I know of no lifelong leisure activity that gets close to nature in the unique way that recreational fishing involves people to become closely connected to the natural life systems of our environment.
To deal with the growing impacts of climate change we will need all the people we can get that have some understanding of nature and how to live with it – this in a fish egg is one of the reasons I try to get people involved in recreational outdoor activities.
During both days of the weekend Thrifty Foods gives free hotdogs, water and pop as a special treat for all. This year they went the extra mile with huge cookies. Thank you Thrifty Foods for your generosity and support.
One of the high points of last week was the case where a 96-year-old lady caught her first trout. From this column’s perspective that is far too long to put off such an important, life-altering event.
When family fishing becomes a food gathering celebration where the fish are taken home and cooked for a special meal we are making real progress in teaching children about the importance of food.
The fishing tackle used during the Family Fishing Weekend is primarily simple spinning outfits with small hooks baited with various type of Berkley Power Bait. Garden worms are also an important source of bait. Many families leave the event with workable spinning outfits from the club that are gifts from tackle companies that can later be used on family outings.
On Sunday afternoon we ran out of rods and reels so one family rigged simple lines to sticks and one of my pictures shows two little children holding the trout they caught on their simple gear. How do you improve on this simple illustration of making do with what you have?
For fathers who take their children fishing on this special day the gift of fatherhood takes on added meaning in these family settings – whether it be on a quiet lake or in a celebration on the pond at the fish and game club – the natural world comes alive all around them. In this case it is not controlled by a button on a TV set, but by the real live situations of life.
Before the summer is out I challenge my readers to take a child to some simple place such as Maple Lake. Note: Due to unusual warm weather the pond has been opened to the lake.
Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.