MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ — Linsey Armus, 30, of Rahway, was thrilled when she caught the first fish of the day at Lower Echo Lake Park in Mountainside on Saturday, Sep. 8.
The Union County Board of County Commissioners, in partnership with the Newark Bait Fly Casting Club invited residents of Union County to participate in the Fall Fishing Derby for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs. Before the start of the derby, about 300 trout from the Musky Hatchery were tagged and released into lower Echo Lake.
“This event is the perfect way to spend more time outdoors and enjoy the end of summer,” stated Commissioner Chairperson Sergio Granados. “Hosting a fishing derby for our residents with special needs and disabilities, alongside their families, is an initiative that reflects our commitment to providing quality programming and creating a truly inclusive community and county for all segments of our population. It is always a great time.”
“We help handicapped people and those with special needs,” said Don Marantz, a member of the NBFCC. “Our club’s been doing this over 30 years.”
The NBFCC was established in 1907. It’s a 501(c) (3) organization and a group where fishermen and fisherwomen can come together to not only share their love of fishing, but unite under a common interest to help veterans, children and disabled individuals, as well as promote environmental conservation, through its many events throughout the year.
Besides the Fall Fishing Derby, other NBFCC events include Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs; Disabled Veterans Fishing Outing; and Annual Tricky Tray, which will be on Friday, Oct. 20, at VFW Kenilworth Post 2230, 33 South 21st St., Kenilworth.
In addition to supporting many individuals in the state and local communities, they also support Heroes on the Water; Jersey Coast Anglers Association; The New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen Clubs; and The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Bethany Gallagher of the Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs said she was excited to be at a “nice outreach event.” The OPDSN offers recreational programs for people with disabilities year-round for children aged 5 through adult, across county facilities. Their goal is to help people with disabilities achieve independent living and full inclusion in all aspects of country life.
Robbie Rosenbaum, 8, of West Orange, was there with his grandmother, Fran Rosenbaum, also of West Orange. She said, “It’s amazing what Union County does to support our special needs community. He has a blast. He was so excited. It’s his first time fishing.”
Jordan Mcquoid, 22, was there with her dad, Mike Mcquoid, who said the event “gives her a chance to do outdoorsy stuff.”
James Mellito, of Clark, was there with his sister, Susan Muniz, of Rahway. Muniz said, “It’s a nice day for everybody; laughs and talking.”
To learn more about special needs programs hosted by Union County, visit www.ucnj.org/dhs/opdsn/ or call 908-527-4807.
To learn more about the Newark Bait and Fly Casting Club, visit www.nbfcc.org.
Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta