Local fishermen take time to inspire Robins' future anglers

  • Published
  • By Amanda Creel
  • 78 ABW/PA
Reeling in the big one for Master Sgt. Mark Denney has become second nature after years of fishing. Now, Sergeant Denney is hoping to help the youngest members of the Robins community learn to reel in the big one.

Sergeant Denney, a flight chief for the 19th Maintenance Squadron, took second place in the Triton Gold Elite Tournament in Old Hickory Lake, Tenn. in June. His second place finish earned him a $10,000 prize.

After seeing his passion turn from a pastime to a possible second career as he approaches his retirement form the Air Force next year, he's decided there is no better way to celebrate his success than grab up some fellow fishermen and inspire children and youth from the Robins community to pick up a rod and reel and try their luck at fishing.

"I wanted to give something back to the base. I've been here for 15 years and I've hunted and fished out here the whole time. There are a lot of things available on the base that people don't know about and fishing is one of them," said Sergeant Denney, who is ranked first in the Georgia power rankings by Georgia Outdoor News Magazine.

What began as a few seasoned fishermen wanting to pass their love of fishing on to a future generation has evolved into a fishing seminar for children, youth and their parents called Fishing for Success. Fishing for Success, a free program open to all young aspiring fishermen, will be a chance to learn about the sport of fishing, including the different types of fishing lures, baits and techniques.

"There will be something that everyone can learn," Sergeant Denney said.

Two of the other men, who will be helping pass on their passion for fishing, are Chris King, management analyst for the 402nd Maintenance Support Group and president of the Central Georgia Bass Club, and Tech. Sgt. Jeffry Wade, NCO in charge of hydraulic systems with the 19th MXS.

"We are just trying to promote interest in fishing, the outdoors and sportsmanship in children and youth," Mr. King said.

Mr. King said he is looking forward to teaching the young fishermen about the different techniques and levels of fishing. "Once they do it, I know they'll get hooked," he said.

He said his favorite thing about sharing his passion for fishing is knowing "it gives the kids something different to do besides sitting at home watching TV."

He said along with giving kids a love of the outdoors, learning about sports like fishing helps them gain an appreciation for the outdoors and helps them become environmentally conscious.

Sergeant Wade agreed that learning how to appreciate the environment is a key ingredient to becoming good fishermen.

"It's about teaching them how to catch fish and how to preserve them," Sergeant Wade said.

Sergeant Wade said he learned about fishing through trial and error and he wished someone would have taken the time out to teach him the tricks of the trade, so now he is taking the opportunity to share his experience with the Robins community.

Cheryl Dollard, director of outdoor recreation, said she was very excited about the program and was even happier to learn the fishermen were offering the class for free.

"It will help promote our lakes and will be a great opportunity to get kids involved in fishing," Ms. Dollard said. "I know we will have a lot of new fisherman out on our lakes after this."

Sergeant Denney said he has learned a lot while fishing on the base lakes and he just wants to help provide the same opportunity to other families in the community. He said he loves watching children and youth learn how to get better at something and fishing teaches them about more than simply catching fish.

"It teaches you patience and discipline and helps you develop a drive not to quit," Sergeant Denney said.

The Fishing for Success seminar will be Sept. 15 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Oscars Amphitheatre, which is located behind the Spalding Nature Center. To register for the fishing seminar contact Sergeant Denney at 926-3347.