A CAST kid and their mentor are rigged and ready for a fun day of fishing on Crab Orchard Lake, Illinois. (Courtesy photo by Jim Owen, CAST)
CAST of Partners and Volunteers Provide Fishing and Fun
By Tim Smigielski
Midwest Region Fisheries
Conservation Education and Partnerships Coordinator
Catch a Special Thrill, the United Special Sportsman Alliance, the Marion Illinois Kiwanis and Chamber of Commerce, along with many additional partners and volunteers provided some special families with a day in the out of doors, September 27.
A family fishing event was held on Crab Orchard Lake in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Carterville Illinois Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office and Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.
More than 20 disabled and critically ill children showed up with their families to focus on fun and fishing for the day. The families registered for the event through United Special Sportsman Alliance, a charity that has provided more than 3,000 outdoor oriented wishes to families and their critically ill and disabled children.
Catch a Special Thrill, also referred to as CAST, provided all families with hats, t-shirts, fishing rods and tackle boxes to use for the day and to take home for future fishing adventures. Local bass fishing clubs and recreational fishing enthusiasts provided their time, their boats and their expertise.
The families were assigned a boat captain who guided them on a boat tour, fishing for bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish and anything else that would bite. The families returned to the boat access with big smiles, many stories and even a few stringers of fish. All were treated to a picnic lunch served up by volunteers and organized by the local Kiwanis Club.
However, the real “take home” for the families and all who participated is the memories that were made, the time that was shared and the wishes that came true.