It is not easy to come up with a measuring system that quantifies the success of a fishing event such as the Family Fishing Weekend – but let me try a couple of measures.
During the weekend Thrifty Foods served 600 hotdog treats plus cold drinks for a total of 1,200 of each. During that period, in discussing with the people at the cleaning tables, they estimated they gutted and cleaned at least 600 trout. If you add another 100 that they did not clean I suggest that at least 700 trout graced family dinners from the event.
However, the measure of the weekend goes far beyond the treats and the trout.
I watched this fishing weekend from inside the helpers’ tent, which was quite an education. I helped in untangling an endless stream of fishing rods and reels from novice anglers. We baited hooks, put on floats and sinkers and gave out small packages of free bait, consoled the unsuccessful fishers and praised the many that came to the cooler chest to have their prize put in a small plastic bag, name attached and put on ice to be taken home when they were finished.
During the two days of the event we had 50 loaner rods in full use with a lineup throughout most of Sunday afternoon of new fishers waiting to borrow a rod so they could join the festivities. Note: most people
brought their own fishing rods and tackle.
From inside the tent you could see the special care members who gutted the fish went to in both cleaning the catch and making sure that none of the entrails were allowed to go back into the pond. It is a sanitary cleaning operation for all concerned.
The basic goals behind the Family Fishing Weekend is to invite all Canadian families to enjoy our great outdoors through the excitement and challenges of recreational fishing. At a beginning level in the quiet waters of the small pond on the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association (CDFGPA) grounds, hundreds of people with varying skill levels of all age groups achieved these simple goals.
It is a participatory event that knows no limitations from the very young to the gray backs and all ages in between who can participate in this nature connecting event. I am sure we had several families that were new to our country that came to take part in the fishing activities in the pond.
We read about and hear alarming reports alluding to the sustainability of our food sources with increasing frequency in these times of climate change. From this perspective the Family Fishing Weekend events throughout the country are low-key learning events. In this case, fresh fish are caught at the source and taken home to be eaten that same day in many cases. It doesn’t get any simpler or more direct than this.
Bryan Allen and his committee who put together this large fishing event are to be congratulated on a job well done, and the staff of Thrifty Foods who volunteer to cook and serve the treats – a special tip of the hat. Thank each and everyone who made the fishing festival at the CDFGPA pond such an outstanding success.
Local sporting goods businesses who gave generously of their equipment and tackle are another important force behind the successes of the weekend – thank-you. We cannot have these events without fish and to this end the CDFGPA donated a $2,500 cheque to the Duncan Hatchery of the Freshwater Fisheries Society to help in the costs of providing trout for our lakes and streams.
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.