CAST Reels In Special Kids

Ben and Josh Marcus love to fish. Every day after school, the Westport brothers — honor students at the Bi-Cultural Day School in Stamford — cast their lines, relaxing before starting homework.

Fishing is social, recreational — and outdoors.

That makes it perfect for children with special needs. Thanks to a national organization — and the Marcus brothers — this past weekend, over 20 local kids discovered the joy of fishing.

And caught their own fish.

Success! Charlie Sanderson lands one!

Catch A Special Thrill– called CAST (get it?!) — is a national non-profit that enriches the lives of special needs kids through fishing. The organization provides them with their own rod and tackle box. 

This weekend marked CAST’s first Westport event. Benjamin and Josh helped bring it here.

Their parents, Bonnie and Andrew Marcus, opened their Saugatuck River home. It was a day of fun, food — and fishing.

Sam and Louis Parks

Local fishermen served as one-on-one coaches. CAST director Jeff Barnes — a retired bass pro fisherman — came from Alabama to help Ben and Josh.

Every youngster caught a fish. All were returned to the water.

But they will always keep the photos and memories.

(Sponsors include Iridian Asset Management, Goldberg & Marcus Dental Associates and the Bonnie Marcus Collection. If you love fishing — or know a child who would like to attend next year — email

Dylan Curran and friend. (All photos/Bonnie Marcus)

10 responses to “CAST Reels In Special Kids

  1. Dave Stalling

    What a great program! Thanks for posting this, Dan.

  2. Fantastic! I’m so glad to see our Challenger Baseball players having so much fun!!!!

  3. Stacie Curran ( And Dylan)

    This was really something!! A special thank you to the Marcus family for hosting Westport’s fist annual C.A.S.T event – the participants and fishing captains were filled with kindness, patience, and determination in setting the kids up for success in their fishing experiences! We hope this is the start of more C.A.S.T events to come.

  4. Peter Barlow

    “fishing is social, recreational – and outdoors” and so much fun ripping the hook out of the creature you just killed. Learn “the fishing experience” early.

  5. Stacie Curran

    To Mr. Barlow, It was a beautiful Catch & Release kind of day – nothing killed. just an amazing opportunity for our kids with disabilities to be outdoors, social, and learning about the great outdoors.

    • Peter Barlow

      Even if the fish is released, isn’t its mouth and throat ripped up by the hook?

      • Yes it was an amazing event. I am ecstatic about the future possibilities that CAST can have in our community.
        I would like to thank everyone who was able to attend as well and I hope you all had a blast.

        P.S. A fish’s mouth is made from the same material as our hair and nails so going catch and release fishing causes no harm to the fish.

  6. Hey Peter. It sounds like you didn’t have a happy childhood and I am sooo sorry about that but please go respond to other articles out there in social media land and let these kids enjoy themselves and hurray for the volunteers who are teaching these kids and for Dan who is writing about positive things that are happening in our Community

  7. Linda Bolton and Robert

    What a fantastic event!! Thank you to the Marcus family for hosting and bringing this great event to Westport!
    Hoping that this is the first of many more great days of fishing!! All the kids had a great time and the buddies were so patient and truly committed to showing them how to fish and teach them what was so special about it!!
    Looking forward to the next C.A.S.T. event!!

  8. Shelly Welfeld

    What a great event! Thank you to the Marcus family for taking this on in their own backyard! Mazal tov to Ben & Josh Marcus (and the rest of the Marcus family!!)