Fishing Forever began in 1989 after a broadcast journalist, Walt Liimatainnen was diagnosed with a debilitating disease. He wanted to continue enjoying the great outdoors as he had for many years and wanted others to have the same opportunity.
Other clubs had preceded Fishing Forever by having events for the blind.
Over 20 years ago Pete Roberts, a long time member and possibly our elder statesman of the club, was the coordinator and the event took place at the French Creek Marina. The club enlisted sports fishers who donated their craft and time to take the handicapped, (including the blind) for a day’s fishing in the waters off French Creek. At the time there were many large salmon caught. One resident of Trillium Lodge, Winni LaMarsh who was 93 years old at the time, hauled in two large salmon.
As time went on it became increasingly expensive for the boat owners and it was becoming difficult to load some wheelchair bound participants and it was decided to change the venue to a local lake. This is where our former coordinator, Brian Borrett, came into the picture and held the first event at Spider Lake. The lake wasn’t very friendly to those lining the shore and casting for either trout or bass. Dan Siminiuk was able to land a few small bass but others were unsuccessful. Brian then moved the event to the Coombs Campground which had a large fishing pond for camping guests. He was able to arrange the event at the campground by having the pond stocked with trout raised at the Vancouver Island University facilities.
The event continued to be a great success and the club received accolades from the care givers and their charges every year. In fact we were told that it is one of the high lights of the year for the residents.
After the 2015 Fishing Forever took place Brian suffered a stroke and subsequently became a resident of a Care Home in Victoria. Unfortunately, he passed away last year.
Not wanting to see this important event end, Len Fong approached a number of members who were willing to take on the derby.
You may wonder why it took three coordinators to replace Brian but Brian told us he began preparations for the event in January! We soon found out why he began so early because it entails quite a bit of arranging and the logistics to make the event a success takes time.
We hope to see our perennial volunteers attend the Care Home Fishing Derby on Friday, May 26th and we are praying for a nice, sunny day.