On any given day in the summertime, Metro’s Blue Lake Regional Park is bustling with activity – from the beach to boat rentals to the picnic, garden and play areas. But on Thursday mornings, the fishing dock is the hot ticket.
Why? Because Dishaun Berry and Philip Anderson, founders of Get Hooked, make fishing fun. No gear or experience is required. Kids and parents can just show up for family fishing days, and they’ll show you how it’s done.
Join Get Hooked
When: Thursdays from June 28 to Aug. 16, 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Blue Lake Regional Park
21224 NE Blue Lake Road
Details: Family Fishing Days
Contact: Lupine DeSnyder
Berry and Anderson say the beauty of fishing is that it brings all kinds of people together; it’s a chance to slow down and to connect. We caught up with them on the dock to learn more.
What is Get Hooked?
Anderson: It’s about empowering the community, empowering our kids and empowering families to live an active, healthy lifestyle fishing and (being) outdoors. We're able to change lives by creating these opportunities for families to come out here and do that.
Berry: Get Hooked was founded as a way to reach out to at-risk youth in marginalized communities. We're serving anybody who has a desire to get outdoors but doesn't know how to do it or doesn't have the resources.
Anderson: When DiShaun's out there fishing, the kids want to do what he's doing. They want to go catch a sturgeon; they want to go catch a salmon. It’s important to set that example and let them know they have opportunities like this.
Berry: One thing I've learned is that you're inspired to do things differently if you see people who look like you doing them. I never saw a little black boy who wanted to be a golf player until Tiger Woods made it cool. You never saw a young girl who wanted to be a tennis player until Serena Williams made it cool.
And like Phil always says, “You can be a basketball player, but not everyone's going to make it to the NBA. But everyone can be a great fisherman in his or her own right.”
What was the inspiration for Get Hooked?
Berry: We both grew up in Santa Monica, California, in gang-ravaged areas. Going fishing and just being outdoors kept us out of trouble and brought happiness to our life. We just wanted to give that back to the community.
We live in a day and age where society and media try to say certain things are for certain people. But happiness is not for certain people. It's for everybody. Whether it’s paddle boarding, swimming, boating, hiking or anything outdoors. That’s what we're trying to inspire others to bring into their lives.
Who taught you how to fish?
Berry: My grandfather got me into fishing. I remember coming up here, and every summer we'd go to Lost Lake. I was this black kid who was fortunate enough to see things that my community wasn't seeing. I traveled in an RV. I lived outside and went fishing all the time. My grandfather fostered that in his family.
Anderson: Dishaun taught me how to fish. I was one of those kids like a lot of these kids we work with here. They may want to fish but their families don't have the resources or the time. They don't know how to get into the sport. Luckily I was blessed with a good friend like Dishaun who was able to show me how. Being able to create these opportunities that I didn't have – for other kids – is a gift.
What do you hope the kids and their families take away?
Berry: It's not even about catching a fish. That is a bonus. My goal is just to get parents and kids outdoors and away from the things that are plaguing us today – like social media, the Internet and television. We're almost in a health crisis because we don't get outside enough.
Anderson: You have to learn patience with the fish. You see the families out here waiting in line. Everybody is patient. I think that translates on the water as well. It's not always going to come easy. That’s how life is, too.
What's the connection between Get Hooked and Metro?
Anderson: It's been a great partnership. Metro helped us launch Get Hooked. They helped us brainstorm ideas and figure out how we could get the kids out.
Berry: They've given us a voice within our community. And they’ve made access to the parks more affordable for us, especially as a small organization.
Do you have a favorite Get Hooked moment?
Berry: There's not one specific moment. It's every single moment from unloading the trailer, to putting the bait on, to the last person walking out. The things I tend to remember are the smiles and the interactions with the kids. You can't put a dollar amount on it. You can't bottle that feeling up. It's just intoxicating. We always talk about how filled we are when we leave here. It's a blessing.