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June 15, 2019

Jacob friede/lakeland times

Jon Cristiano, left, and Scott Bayer get ready to hit the water for a day of fishing on the Eagle River Chain. The guys were there to participate in Fishing Has No Boundaries’ 26th annual three-day fishing event.
Jacob friede/lakeland times

Jon Cristiano, left, and Scott Bayer get ready to hit the water for a day of fishing on the Eagle River Chain. The guys were there to participate in Fishing Has No Boundaries’ 26th annual three-day fishing event.
Jacob friede/lakeland times

Pictured are Kenneth and Marsha Musial of Land O’ Lakes, participants in Fishing Has No Boundaries’ 26th annual fishing outing. They were in Eagle River on Friday, May 31 eager to fish the chain.
Jacob friede/lakeland times

Pictured are Kenneth and Marsha Musial of Land O’ Lakes, participants in Fishing Has No Boundaries’ 26th annual fishing outing. They were in Eagle River on Friday, May 31 eager to fish the chain.
6/8/2019 7:30:00 AM
A great day for fishing
Fishing Has No Boundaries holds 26th annual fishing outing
Jacob Friede
of The Lakeland Times

A simple day fishing can do wonders for the spirit. It can set the soul of an angler as free as the fish they pursue.

But just as therapeutic as a day on the water is helping someone else enjoy one. This was evident last weekend on the Eagle River Chain, where it was impossible to tell who was having a better time, the volunteers for Fishing Has No Boundaries (FHNB) or the men and women they helped go fishing.

FHNB, a national organization with a local chapter in Eagle River, helps provide quality fishing opportunities for both adults and kids who are disabled, as well as the elderly, and at its 26th annual three day fishing event they went all out.

The shoreline of the Wild Eagle Lodge on Lynx Lake in Eagle River was lined with an armada of wheelchair-accessible pontoon boats, piloted by fishing guides. Additionally, the shore was full of racks of rods and reels, piles of life jackets, and coolers full of bait.

The participants, thanks to donations and FHNB fundraising efforts, were definitely set up to catch some fish. But beyond that, chapter chairman Wil Campbell said he hoped they would also catch a break.

"For many of these people, they don't have a way to get out and enjoy life and get on a boat and do this, so we're using fishing as a vehicle," Campbell said. "It's a people helping people camaraderie thing and they just love it. For some of them, this is the time of their life for the year."

And they take advantage of it. Participants in the three-day event can be out on the water fishing all day if they choose, and even eat lunch on the boat.

Last weekend was FHNB's 26th annual fishing event in Eagle River, and many of the participants enjoy it so much they have attended multiple times.

"Three years in a row," said Scott Bayers, who was just excited to get out on the water no matter what the outcome. "I'm going to catch whatever I catch and if it's nothing then we try again the next day."

And it's not just the anglers who come back year after year.

"We enjoy it. It's fun. I see the same faces ever year," said event volunteer Diane Guckenberg, who was part of a massive volunteer crew organizing and loading the boats and assisting and guiding the participants.

But there were some new faces at the FHNB outing this year, like Kenneth Musial from Land O' Lakes. He was a lifetime fisherman before becoming disabled five years ago and he has been waiting that long to get back on the water.

"I haven't been fishing for quite a few years now so I though I would give it a try," said Musial, who spent most of his fishing career on the waters of Lac Vieux Desert.

He now gets around on a motorized scooter that would not fit in a traditional boat, and his wife Marsha was pleased with the opportunity FHNB offered with their watercraft.

"He's been wanting to go fishing and we haven't been able to," she said. "You have to really have like a pontoon boat. You can't get into a regular boat."

Facilitating a fishing experience that would otherwise not be possible, as was the case with the Musials, is exactly what FHNB is all about. The impact the organization has had on those it helps is why chairman Campbell said he has been involved for all 26 events in Eagle River.

"It's pretty amazing, when I see the smiles on the faces and the people and the hugs that I get and the little comments back and forth, just that I'm able to help these people do this," he said. "They always want to come back and it's a heart-warming thing."

Jacob Friede may be reached at jacob@lakelandtimes.com or outdoors@lakelandtimes.com.





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