Scouting Out Life Lessons on Fishing Expedition

Jun 21, 2017
Courtesy of: Dean Keppler Pack 61 scouts enthusiastically congregate on the Carolyn Ann III for a group shot.

To the Editor:

At a time when stringent saltwater fishing regulations have crippled local party and charter boats, recreational anglers, bait and tackle shops and even trickled down to other tourism-related businesses, it’s always encouraging to see one staple establishment fight through all the red tape and politics and forge ahead. And that’s just what the owners and dedicated crew of the Carolyn Ann II have done for roughly five decades.

“Don’t be fooled by the complications of the politics. We are all tired of the drama series. We’ve been sailing for over 50 years while taking families and groups out fishing from all over the tristate area, and we’ll continue to do so,” said longtime Carolyn Ann III fixture and trip organizer Gina Lawrenson. 

And when the Carolyn Ann III left the Barnegat Light 18th street dock one Sunday June afternoon, as it’s done thousands of times before, the dozens of passionate young anglers from Pack 61 Cub Scouts had only one thing on their minds. Fishing!

Pack 61 serves the Manahawkin area of Stafford Township and has roughly 50 boys, from first grade through fifth grade, with nine dens. The pack was established in 1965, and has been promoting values such as honesty, trustworthiness, and respect for others and the environment. The Cub Scout program combines fun with educational activities and lifelong values. It also helps boys strengthen their character, develop good citizenship, establish new friendships, and enhance both mental and physical fitness. Pack 61 is under the expert direction and guidance of recently appointed Cubmaster Nate Hersh. Nate was on board for the trip with his son, Koyla, along with 60 other enthusiastic Pack 61 members and family.

An afternoon on the Carolyn Ann III not only offered hours of outdoor fun for the pack, but also taught valuable lessons to the youngsters about appreciating local marine life, aquatic safety, working individually and as a team and, most importantly, building relationships and positive interaction with friends and family. The mates of the fishing vessel were extremely helpful in teaching the boys the proper way to bait a hook, avoid line tangles and hook accidents, acceptable “keeper” size fish and maintaining proper etiquette on a boat. Judging by the way the trip went so smoothly with hardly any mishaps or sour faces, the Carolyn Ann II crew specializes in much more than just fishing. 

Capt. Will Hammarstrom guided the Carolyn Ann III to its usual wreck fishing hotspots where the boys got their fill of a variety of local marine life. There were black sea bass, blackfish, fluke, baby dogfish, sea robins, skates and even one large eel caught by an excited group member. The variety of fish eager to take an afternoon snack of clam, mackerel and squid allowed the boys to learn a valuable lesson in conservation-minded steps that are to be followed ensuring safe catch-and-release tactics. More than a handful of anglers were able to catch some good-sized black sea bass that were sure to make a tasty dinner meal that evening.

When the four-hour trip came to a conclusion at roughly 6:45 p.m., and the familiarity of Old Barney was in sight as the boat pulled into port, there were a lot of happy and tired Pack 61 anglers. The group not only had a fantastic day of fishing in local waters, but managed to learn more than a few life lessons along the way.      

Dean Keppler

Cedar Run






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