Outdoor / Fishing

Thursday, Aug 15 2013 06:22 PM

Steve Merlo: Three-hour fishing class at BC teaches basics to baby boomers

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    Bonnie Anderson, center, volunteer coordinator for "Casting for Recovery," a non-profit breast cancer retreat program, smiles after being presented a check for $3,391 from the Kern River Fly Fishers Club from KRFF President Amy Kileen, left and Vice President Teresa Adams.

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By The Bakersfield Californian

Once again, Bakersfield College's Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning, under the tutelage of Dr. Robert Allison, will be offering an assorted series of educational classes intended for the hoards of Baby Boomers getting ready to retire after years of hard work. Funded by a large donation from Dr. Norman Levan, a Bakersfield dermatologist, the institute offers interesting and useful learning experiences for those adults wanting to continue gaining knowledge throughout their lives.

A huge number of Boomer retirees are now planning to do some of the pleasurable things they always wanted to do but had no time due to their job and family constraints. Among these activities, fishing by themselves or with loved ones such as kids and grandkids, had always been number one on their bucket list, but being out of the loop for so many years, a lot of them were confused about where to begin.

Knowing how much the sport has changed over the years, these individuals need either a refresher course or outright instruction to point them in the right direction to learn how to find and catch all forms of freshwater gamefish.

For the third time, the Levan Institute will be offering a three-hour "Let's Go Fishing" class, a basic guide to learning easy techniques about how and where to catch fish. Held at BC on Sept. 17, it once again will be taught by yours truly. The class is perfect for couples and grandparents wanting to wanting to spend more quality time together or with their grandkids.

During the classroom hours, I'll be showing students just how easy catching lots of fish can be. Based on my years of catching crappie, trout, bass, catfish, bluegill and salt and fresh water species, I'll show anglers a ton of my easy secrets about where, when and how to latch onto and land fish of all kinds.

Cost for the class is only $10 for classroom materials and seating is limited.

Call Miriam (661) 395-4431 or email her at mvalenzu@bakersfieldcollege.edu for more information.

Kern Fly Fishers Club assists cancer victims

I admit I've poked a bit of fun at fly fishermen over the years, but I've had a startling revelation, and after attending a local fly fishing club function, I think we've finally kissed and made up. Now, I may never "present an artificial to a lie," learn to "double haul" or get that infamous "crook" in my little finger, but I did listen and learned a lot about flyfishing that night. I found fly fishermen's passions about the sport every bit as sincere as my own spinning and casting activities.

There are times when old foes eventually get around to a truce, especially when both parties actively pursue activities that assist people in dire need of humanitarian help. And so, recently, the local Kern River Fly Fishers Club took a giant leap for all mankind, in this case woman-kind, and I'm proud to relate their story of unselfish love.

Bonnie Anderson, Southern Cal coordinator for Casting for Recovery and keynote speaker at the last meeting of the Kern River Fly Fishers Club, must have been truly surprised when the club presented her organization with a check for $3,391. The funds were raised by the club to be able to send two women to a Casting for Recovery retreat after breast cancer treatment.

Designed to promote and support mental and physical healing through counseling, medical education and fly fishing instruction, the retreats are provided at no cost to the participants. CFR volunteers are working hard to get the word out regarding the program and are encouraging all women to apply for participation.

The retreats bring women together so they can relate and speak to each other.

Most of these women never get a chance to speak to other women about what they are experiencing while going through cancer recovery treatment, and the retreats' fly tying, casting and on-the-water time together gives them that very opportunity. Also, doctors are pleased to see the ladies exercising their after-surgery upper arms while learning how to cast.

Sharon Richardson, a cancer survivor of nearly five years, wrote to me and offered, "I was lucky enough to be a participant at a 2009 retreat and it was one of the most meaningful weekends of my life."

She works three days a week at the Kern River Fly Shop in Kernville, where flyfishing is king. Parties interested in supporting the organization or attending one of the retreats can contact her at (208) 850-5945 or through the CFR website castingforrecovery.org. Bonnie Anderson can be reached at (310) 995-6601 or by visiting cfrsocal@sbcglobal.net.

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