We Love to Fish Update – A Full Time Venture

Bucks Falcon Mercury

by Rob Lever – We Love to Fish

We Love to Fish Jose Pickerel

Jose and his Pickerel – photo courtesy We Love to Fish

A year ago I wrote about the start of We Love to Fish and how it became a labor of love for me. We Love to Fish gives a guest with a developmental disability thechance to experience a day on the water.  Each guest is treated with respect and has the ability to decide how his or her day will go.My organization has morphed from a way to share my passion to a respected cause that the fishing community has rallied behind.

Time has flown by in a whirlwind that has left me emotional at times thinking about how this evolved.  It is amazing how close I was to taking a break from fishing when I decided to embark on my first trip with one of my guests.  That first trip changed my life and each trip since has continued to change my life in a way I can’t explain.

Our second year has started much different than the first.  My first season was funded completely from my own pocket.  The cost was never a burden because I soon realized how important it was to do the work I was doing.  The smiles and joy of seeing someone that society has forgotten about catching his/her first fish was well worth the price of admission.  However this year is different because I have a team a people around me; We Love to Fish has a support team.

This support team has come in to help our guests with the tools that they need to better enjoy their day on the water.  Each of these companies has shown my guests that I’m not the only one that cares about them. The team has helped We Love to Fish give someone the perfect day on the water.

The full list of support team members is on the We Love to Fish website and I will find time in the next couple of months to thank each one.The best example of what this team does for us is from our first trip this year.  My first guest of the season José lit up when he saw what I handed him when he stepped on the boat.  I handed him a T-shirt and hat from Duckett Fishing.  This year Duckett Fishing signed on to help our guests by giving each a shirt and hat but also supplying the rods they will use during their trip.

José is a returning guest that is deaf.  He loves to fish and for the first time in a long time is in a good place.  He grew up on the streets of Boston and has bounced from group home to

We Love to Fish Bill Bass

Bill with one of his Bass – photo courtesy We Love to Fish

group home.  Joséis excited for his new place in life and is the first to convey his journey.  Every picture that was taken that day shows his excitement flashing his new hat and the rod that helped him with his catch.  I can’t thank Duckett enough for giving Josésomething to take back with him.  The next morning there was a knock on my door and there he stood proudly wearing his new shirt.

The last thing José did in my office that morning was sign something to his aid.  Not knowing much sign I knew exactly what he said.  He pointed at me, then him, and linked his fingers from both his hands.  He said that we were close friends and I couldn’t be prouder to be his friend.  Moments like this are what drives me to do more and are part of the news that I am about to share.

Last year when I started We Love to Fish I was only able to do it part time.  I am an IT guy by trade and have worked in the field most of my adult life.  This fishing season will be my first full time dedication to We Love to Fish.We have added both kids and seniors to the program.  I have taken a leap of faith and stepped away from my career,and have taken on We Love to Fish full time.

We Love to Fish is my passion and seeing these individuals catch their first fish is what drives me.  It is hard to sum up my life experiences into words and to be honest I knew that I could have been a better human being before that day.  That day started the rest of my life and I’m excited to share We Love to Fish with everyone.  To learn more about We Love to Fish visit welovetofish.org.  Also look for new updates on our trip here on Advanced Angler.