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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Dylan Curran and friend. (All photos/Bonnie Marcus)
It took this guy just 5 minutes to park his car, cast his line and catch his dinner (Photo/Doris Ghitelman)
You don’t always see a kid — or anyone, for that matter — fishing in the Compo Beach boat basin.
Nor do you usually see — these days — a kid fishing anywhere.
But alert “06880” reader Steve Axthelm saw this scene earlier today:
Maybe someone’s New Year’s resolution was to put down electronic devices, and get outside more.
Or maybe the fish were just biting.
Summer vacation ends with a crash on Monday. The 1st day of school is ominously close.
But last evening, a mother gave a lesson of a different type to her kids. Alert “06880” reader Fred Cantor was at Old Mill Beach, and captured this classic Westport scene:
Three years ago, James Spengler was diagnosed with a little-known tumor disease, and a rare form of cancer. He was 2 years old.
Today James is a thriving little boy. He loves fishing with his dad — Matt, a lifetime local resident, avid sportsman and devoted father.
To celebrate his son’s new lease on life — and help organizations like the Children’s Tumor Foundation and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center– Matt has organized a fishing tournament.
The first Saugatuck Cup takes place Saturday, October 3. It’s a 1-day catch-and-release contest, with anglers using fly or spin rods to compete for bass, blues and false albacore in Long Island Sound.
The tournament — open to 30 boats — is presented in conjunction with Westport Outfitters. Prominent figures in the sport, including fly-tying innovator Eric Peterson and striper expert Lou Tabory, will be there.
“Watching my son, and numerous children like him, fight for their lives has profoundly affected me,” Matt says. “The Children’s Tumor Foundation and Sloan-Kettering not only saved my son’s life — they saved mine too. This fishing tournament could be a good 1st step in raising awareness and giving back.”
(Visit Westport Outfitters at 609 Riverside Avenue, or click here for entry forms and more information.)
Losing a job is catastrophic and traumatic. But, some out-of-work Westporters report, there are a couple of surprising upsides, like spending more time with family, and the opportunity to make a previously-impossible career or lifestyle switch.
Add one more: free fishing.
Aquarion — our local water company — is offering no-fee permits to anyone who has lost a job. Fishing on the shores of 3 reservoirs — including Saugatuck in Weston — is usually $25.
“Looking for work can be a tough, full-time job, especially now,” said Aquarion CEO Charles V. Firlotte. “We’d like to make it a little easier for people to relax after a day of pounding the pavement to find a new job.”
It sounds like an April Fool’s joke. It isn’t. It’s a human response to hard times by a huge, often faceless utility.
And there’s nothing fishy about that.
(Free permits will be given out on Tuesday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Aquarion Environmental Center, 714 Black Rock Road, Easton. For more information, call 203-452-3511.)