EAST GULL LAKE - Scott Roesner fishes in numerous tournaments, has done some professional guiding and enjoys being in a boat, fishing with family and friends.
But Roesner said none of his fishing adventures can compare to his involvement with the Brainerd Lakes Chapter of Fishing Has No Boundaries, a non-profit organization that brought 121 people with physical and developmental disabilities to Confidence Learning Center last weekend to create memorable fishing experiences for them.
Roesner serves as president of the Brainerd Lakes Chapter of Fishing Has No Boundaries. He took two participants and a boat helper fishing on Sylvan Lake on Saturday. While they didn't catch much more than bass and sunfish, it was an exciting time, he said.
Participant in Fishing Has No Boundaries caught a basket full of sunfish Saturday. Brainerd Dispatch/ Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
"I couldn't dream of doing anything else this weekend. I couldn't imagine missing it," Roesner said. "This reminds me of going back to fishing when I was a kid. It's simple. As long as they're smiling, that's my thanks. They don't have to say anything else. It's got to be the happiest place in the world out here."
By the time Lawrence Besky, East St. Paul, and his father, Don Besky, Luck, Wis., made it back for the shore lunch at Confidence Learning Center, Lawrence had caught 16 sunfish. Lawrence, 45, suffers from multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair. He said the best part of the weekend was being able to be outdoors.
"I think it's great to have this for people who probably wouldn't have this opportunity," Don Besky said. "It's been very enjoyable."
Jonas, a Fishing Has No Boundaries participant from Cold Spring, examined the sunfish he caught Saturday on Sylvan Lake with boat captain Patty Good, wife of professional angler Perry Good, and Mark Spurbeck of Elk River. Brainerd Dispatch/ Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Marlyn Post of Jordan said that before his multiple sclerosis made it nearly impossible for him to go fishing in a boat, he used to fish often, whether in Minnesota or traveling to Mexico or Florida. Post attended Fishing Has No Boundaries with his brother, Jeff Post, of Okabena.
This was their third year with the program. He said he appreciated how much work went into hosting the event and making sure people like himself had a good time. Post said he and his brother have made friends during this weekend at Confidence Learning Center and continue to remain in touch with them.
"I can hardly fish any other time," Post said.
Delman Mastrude (left), Fergus Falls, smiled as he fished in Fishing Has No Boundaries on Sylvan Lake, accompanied by his helper, Linda Olson, and boat captain Pat Foster, Aitkin. Brainerd Dispatch/ Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Bob Slaybaugh of Confidence Learning Center and event committee co-chair said there were 121 anglers, 59 care providers who served as boat helpers and 69 boat captains who volunteered to take participants fishing on Gull or Sylvan lakes.
Boat captains included walleye professional Perry Good, fishing guide "Walleyedan" Eigen and Lindy Little Joe President Ted Takasaki. Activities included a pizza party Friday at Mariucci Lodge, guest speakers, a campfire sing-along, games and a fish fry dinner Saturday night. Special entertainment Saturday night included music by "Southern Comfort Band."
Slaybaugh said participants came from throughout Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. The event has grown tremendously since the Brainerd Lakes Chapter was formed in 2003, when they had 35 anglers. There were 56 anglers in 2004, 94 in 2005, 110 in 2006 and 121 this year. Cost for anglers is $40 for the weekend.
Don Besky (left), Luck, Wis., visited with his son, Lawrence Besky, East St. Paul, as the duo enjoyed a shore lunch Saturday at Confidence Learning Center. Lawrence Besky, a participant in Fishing Has No Boundaries, suffers from multiple sclerosis and is in a wheelchair. Brainerd Dispatch/ Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
For more information about the event, to volunteer or participate or to view photographs from the weekend, visit the chapter Web site at www.brainerdlakesfhnb.org.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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