Fishing in the Dark


There’s something about the tug on the end of a line that makes the heart quiver for anybody who enjoys fishing.   Imagine what that must feel like to somebody who’s never caught a fish—add to that the feeling it would be to somebody who’s never SEEN a fish.

This weekend, the Lion’s Clubs of West Virginia will sanctioned the first ever VIP Fishing Tournament at Stonewall Jackson Lake.   VIP, in this instance, is an acronym for Visually Impaired Person, but on that day they’ll be VIP’s in the conventional sense as well.

"We patterned this program after the North Carolina VIP fishing tournament," said Frank McGhee who is heading up the organizing of the event–and also is legally blind.  "When we were in North Carolina last year, I talked to people who had never had an opportunity to be on the water or near the water."

McGhee says Stonewall Resort had the facilities tailor-made for what they are wanting.  Anglers will fish from three separate pontoon boats and the handicap accessible fishing pier. 

"Anything with a rail so you can’t walk off the thing," said McGhee. "It worked perfect for our needs for this tournament."

A number of volunteers are also assisting the anglers with aspects of fishing like baiting hooks, removing fish, and casting out the line if needed.    Anglers will be using live bait and all fish caught will be added to the cumulative weight, regardless of size or species.   Volunteers will have scales at all four fishing points to weigh each fish.

"It’s going to be a day in the fresh air and to feel the pull of a fish on the line and hopefully bring him in," said McGhee. "You don’t see the bobber bobbing, all you get is the feel of the actual movement of the fish.  It is exciting."

McGee says the tournament is open to anyone in West Virginia who is legally blind.  They must contact their local Lion’s Club to sponsor them into the tournament.   Those 18 and older will be in one division and the winner will go to the international VIP World Championship at Nags Head, North Carolina.  There will also be a junior division for those under 18. 


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