One event gets marked on our calendar before all else every summer – the Fish-A-Thon For A Cure. So despite having a late start to the morning and a 2.5 hour drive to get there, Darrell and I were not missing out on this year’s fun.
We pulled into Deer Creek Conservation Area a little before noon, quickly registered and got the boat in the water. Darrell pulled the trailer out of the water and I reached for the motor to maneuver myself out of the way and wait for him. I turned the handle of electric motor…and nothing happened. Noting my apparently panicked expression, I received some help from people on the dock to grab the boat and pull me over. I wasn’t so much panicked as shocked that the motor failed to work. Darrell’s great at prepping our equipment and it rarely has issues when we hit the water.
As I joked with the guys on the docks about all the rowing Darrell was facing, he came back down the launch, heard about the problem, rowed us out of the way, and fixed the connection. With the motor now working we were free to move around the lake at a good clip and enjoy the day.
In the past few years of the Fish-A-Thon we have faced everything from oppressive heat to torrential downpours. This year was pleasantly cool when the clouds were overhead, and a good deal warmer when the sun was shining. All in all though, it was a beautiful day to be on the water.
The event was being held later in the year than normal, so we had to search a little more to find fish. I never did locate the school of crappie that usually sets up in a weed bed off one of the points – the weeds were gone. The bluegill, however, were willing to bite, and we amused ourselves by targeting them for a while.
I enjoy fishing this event because it’s all about having fun on the water. Sure, there are prizes for big fish and the grand slam, but I don’t think anyone gets too serious about that. We like to move around the lake, spend some time targeting panfish, search for bass, maybe pull in a trout – just have fun targeting a bunch of fish and looking at the scenery. When you ask other participants how the fishing is, there are always jokes to be made and laughs to be had.
Recent changes in the weather had slowed the bite, making it especially hard to land the big bass that roam this lake. We saw a few of the big ones cruising, but failed to catch their interest. My wacky-rigged senko managed to catch a few smaller bass, including a 16-5/8 inch fish that hit with a thud and gave me a nice little fight before coming to the boat.
After a fun afternoon of fishing we pulled out the boat and headed to the pavilion for dinner and prizes. We didn’t think any of our catches would be long enough to enter for the big fish awards, but when Ryan announced last call for entries and said that not many pictures had been entered, Darrell told me to take the picture of my bass over. Surprisingly, that 16-5/8 bass ended up being the big bass for the day and got me some nice stuff from the amazing sponsors of the event. Darrell also ended ended up with a prize for getting over $250 in pledges. That was in addition to the generous door prizes that every participant gets. Fish-A-Thon For A Cure sponsors are absolutely amazing (check out the website for list of the sponsors).
Of course, the fishing is secondary at this event, we are there to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society, and to remember those we’ve lost and honour the survivors. Everyone has been touched by cancer in some way or other. I participate and collect pledges for my sisters: One is a breast cancer survivor (she writes an incredible blog about her experiences), and I hope the other never has to hear a diagnosis of cancer. Everyone has a story about why they are there and tears fall every year. It’s a pretty powerful experience.
My favorite moment came during dinner. Ryan made an announcement that the event was $180 short of reaching a milestone number, and he was setting a jar on the table for anyone who might have some spare change to toss in and see if we could reach the amount. In minutes, literally only three or four minutes, over $200 was raised from people who had already donated and collected pledges! I feel teary even now, thinking about what a great group of people I am privileged to spend a day with every year.
Over $15,000 was raised for this year’s Fish-A-Thon For A Cure, bringing the total raised in the past seven years to an unbelievable $70,000.
It would be pretty spectacular to raise $30,000 next year and put the event over the $100,000 mark. Please consider participating in the event and collecting pledges. Or pledge someone you know will be participating. Or go to the website and make a donation to the event. The funds raised go to the Canadian Cancer Society and help in so many ways.
Another spectacular Fish-A-Thon For A Cure is in the books! Thank you to the incredible organizers and volunteers of the event, the amazing sponsors who make sure participants get to go home with some great prizes, the Long Point Region Conservation Authority for hosting the event at Deer Creek, and to the other participants, who are just an awesome group of people to hang out with. I can’t wait to do it all again next year!