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Posted 12/3/2012

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By Jay Townsend

On Sept. 30 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Table Rock Project Office partnered with several local businesses and civic organizations from Branson, Mo., to bring Catch a Special Thrill for 21 children who don’t normally have the opportunity or ability to go fishing.

“The whole purpose of this event is to help these kids and their parents realize that they can overcome their disability and enjoy the great outdoors,” said Park Ranger Jeremy Rasnick from the Table Rock Project.

C.A.S.T. events are designed to create an adaptive environment where children 5 to 18 years old with mobility impairments can experience a fun day on the water that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy. 

Special ramps and electronic bait casters are brought in to aid the children throughout the day. The electronic bait caster can throw the line out and even reel in the fish.

In addition to spending a few hours fishing, children also received a tackle box and a hat. After fishing, the children and volunteers enjoyed a fish-fry lunch.

“Every time I see this event I’m reminded of why we do this every year,” said Rasnick.

The event teamed each child with a professional fisherman. They all departed from Bent Hook Marina at Big Cedar Lodge on Table Rock Lake. Several of the boats were scattered about the Long Creek arm of the lake.

C.A.S.T. was founded in Seattle by Jim Owens. The organization holds about 50 such events around the country each year, and Owens was on hand for Sunday’s outing. He said fishing is a great event for the children.

“I think the greatest outcome from this event is that after it’s all said and done the parents realize that their child can get out and enjoy everything Table Rock Lake has to offer,” said Rasnick