FISHING BUDDIES-PAYING IT FORWARD


Written by Bob Melrose.

Do you remember your first fishing trip?

I sure do. It was back in Southern Ontario, we lived in Welland, right on the Welland Canal and just a couple of miles from Lake Erie and Niagara Falls. My Dad was just out of the RCAF. He was a pilot/photographer and like most guys coming back from the war was struggling, and trying to make a go of his new photography studio. We didn't have much money and certainly couldn't afford a vehicle. I remember vividly riding on the handlebars of his bike as we visited the various small ponds and lakes close to town. The fish were small, various sunfish and perch but to this little three year old they were monsters. I waited eagerly for the weekends and another fishing trip. A pillow tied to the handlebars was a welcome addition as the trips ventured further afield. Some weekends my Dad would make trips with his fishing buddies, Big Boy trips that I wasn't allowed on, but I would sneak out just to listen to them planning the trip for the big Pike, Muskies or Lake Trout in the area. I dreamed of one day going on a Big Boy trip but unfortunately my Mom and Dad parted company when I was seven years old.

When we moved to Southern Alberta I somehow knew that my fishing passion was just getting started. The irrigation reservoirs all held Pike; many small ponds had Yellow Perch and the mountains were just 60 miles to the west. In Lethbridge, a river ran through it and the Oldman River had Pike, Goldeye, Suckers, Catfish, Burbot, Skipjacks and Whitefish. Many of South Alberta's famous trout streams were all within a 1.5 hour drive. Luck, karma or fate smiled on me, as my new best friend and his Dad fished every weekend. They became my mentors and every weekend was a new adventure in a new place.

Over the years I have shared many lakes, rivers and saltchuck memories with some of the best friends you could ever meet. I have learned much from these experiences and grateful for the time shared.

Unfortunately, the number of anglers are dwindling, and that is a real shame. Too many distractions with video games, Facebook, Twitter, texting and other harmful influences I guess. Also, with many single parent families there just is no time, money or mentors.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC hopes to change that with their Fishing Buddies Program. As an angler you know how much the fishing/outdoor/nature experience has enriched your life. You have learned new skills, made some real friends, enjoyed some great memories, shared some laughs and defeats but wouldn't change that for anything. The Fishing Buddies Program invites you to pass it on, pay it forward and introduce someone new to your fishing addiction.

Make a promise to take out a neighbour, friend, colleague, or even your mother-in-law on a fishing trip.

Go to gofishbc.com and click on Programs and Events then click on Fishing Buddies then complete the promise. In return you will receive the Go Fish BC e-newsletter with stocking data, tips, and info on some of the best fishing in BC.

As an added bonus, this summer look for contest details and some exciting prizes including books, DVD's, fishing gear and an end of season fishing trip for two people-you and your fishing buddy with the master Brian Chan. Biologist, author and one of the most knowledgeable guys anywhere. Pretty good deal for just taking somebody out fishing isn't it.

Remember what fishing has meant to you, now share it with someone new.