Hooked On Fishing day inspires young anglers

Posted:  Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 8:00am

Fifty kids took to Damariscotta Lake Saturday, June 3 for Midcoast Conservancy’s annual Hooked On Fishing youth event. Thanks to the generosity of six boat captains, participants were able to spend an hour or longer on the water, fishing for pickerel, bass and perch. Overcast and buggy weather provided optimal conditions and all but one junior fisherman were successful in landing a catch.

To round out the day’s offerings, the Whitefield Lions Club provided a free barbecue right on the beach, and admission to the park was free to all family members, courtesy of Midcoast Conservancy. Participants included the Roberts family, who were back for their fourth straight year. Alison and Caroline have developed a great friendship with Captain Joe Holland, and were willing to wait a while for Joe’s boat to return rather than take the next one available. Their dad, David, said, “Somehow, each time we get out on the lake with Joe, there is never a shortage of nibbles on the bait. And not only nibbles, we also spotting a mating pair of loons, a duck protecting her ducklings, and two painted turtles that were caught in a net, fed worms by the girls and returned back to the lake.  Alison and Caroline are already looking forward to next year's visit.” 

Local Hooked on Fishing programs are an offshoot of the national Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs flagship youth education program of the Future Fishermen Foundation. The program, developed 20 years ago, uses angling skill development as a gateway to teach youth about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and how to deal with the challenges facing them in their young lives. 

Midcoast Conservancy, whose Outdoor Adventure & Learning Hubs program seeks to get kids and their families outside for fun and health, is hosting a number of free youth camps this summer across the Midcoast area; for more information on them, go to https://www.midcoastconservancy.org/explore/events/ or call (207) 389-5150.

Relationships like the one between Captain Joe and Alison and Caroline are just one example of the positive program outcomes. The sense of mastery, camaraderie and fun make the program a win-win for everyone involved. Huge thanks to captains Joe Holland, Dave Parsons, Dave Trask, Cory and Kayla Collins, Dave Reiss, and Cal Prescott, and to Corey Voss for organizing the fleet! Thanks, too, to the Lincoln County Deputies’ Union, who donated two fishing rods to be given away to some lucky participants.