It is about 8:30 on Thursday morning at Lake 5 at the Sun Lakes Country Club. It is a beautiful day; the sky is blue and not a cloud is in sight. It is a clear crisp morning. People are out walking, some with their dogs around the lake. Ducks scurry out into the water as people pass by; others just ignore them as they preen their feathers.
Very few people stop and watch the fish swimming in the lake.
A van pulling a small trailer comes through a pathway to the lake. The trailer, carrying 35 fishing poles for today’s derby, is unhitched and parked along the walkway. Tables and chairs are removed from the van and set up near the fishing poles. Large fishing nets are removed from their box and laid on the ground ready to go.
Sponsor support banners are set up along the back. When the “kids” arrive they will be lined up behind the banners and have their pictures taken and given a short lesson in fishing.
They are then led single file to get their fishing poles and meet their instructor for the day. Normally we have one instructor for each two children. He, or she, hands them each a plastic bag of bait (cut up hot dogs). They will follow him or her to a spot on the lake where they will fish. They are given instructions on how to bait the hook and are anxious to cast the line out. Normally the instructor will make the first cast. There will be plenty time during the day to learn how to cast.
The children are standing around the lake holding their poles hoping they catch the first fish. The tension builds and lines start being reeled in with comments like, “I think a fish has taken my bait.” However, once reeled in the bait is still there.
The instructor hands the pole to the child and is told it is time to learn how to cast. Some learn quickly and are proud of their accomplishment; others become frustrated when they only cast 4 to 6 feet into the lake. The instructor takes the pole and slowly casts the line about 20 feet out into the lake and says, “We need to get your bait back in the lake in order to catch a fish. You will have plenty of time to learn to cast before the day is over,” and hands the pole to the young girl who sits down by her friend and they begin to giggle.
The cry “FISH ON” echoes across the lake followed by the sounds of children screaming. This is the heart and soul of the Anglers Club.
The club has had two successful derbies this year, one on October 29 and another on November 1. Three more were scheduled in November.