Forrest Moyer has two kids under the age of 10, so he knows how hard it is to think of activities the whole family can enjoy.
That is why he created the nonprofit group Solid Ground Youth Anglers Association. Its goal is to use fishing and other nautical-themed activities to strengthen bonds among family members.
“Last year I was looking for something to do with my son and daughter, and we went fishing. But we didn’t catch anything, and they hated it,” he said. “The next time we went out, I brought along a friend of mine with lots of experience, and he showed us what to do - and it was a totally different experience. Within a couple of weeks my kids were spending all day fishing.”
While listening to his buddy explain the proper techniques and what gear to use for different types of fish, Moyer remembers thinking it was a shame other parents didn’t have this same opportunity with their children.
It was his positive learning experience with his children that led to the association, said Moyer, a Lewes resident who is a wholesale sales representative for Big Fish Grill in Rehoboth Beach, with many connections in the local fishing community.
The association will run six-week cycles through the summer, with each week featuring something new to learn from a number of qualified volunteers -examples include Jason Snead from Georgetown-based fly-fishing tackle maker YouSneadThisGear and Jay Caputo, owner/executive chef of Espuma and Cabo restaurants in Rehoboth Beach and the Rose & Crown in Hotel Rodney in Lewes.
Families with older children will learn knot-tying, reading tide charts and how to prepare a freshly caught fish. Families with younger children learn simple casting techniques and animal recognition.
Moyer said one of the best things about lower Delaware is its proximity to different types of fishing - ponds, rivers, streams and oceans.
Moyer said this isn’t a babysitting club for parents who want to drop their children off for a few hours.
“It’s for parents who want to bond with their children,” he said. “We can’t promise they’ll be successful, but once a kid sees the fish come out of the water they’ll be hooked.”
The association will be hold its first fundraiser Wednesday, April 2, at the Ropewalk Tavern in Fenwick Island, a buffet dinner with $1 oysters.
Tickets for the event are $25 apiece, and a silent auction will feature items such as a six-course meal with wine pairing from private chef Joe Garner, a one-year subscription to the Cape Gazette, workout sessions with local personal trainers and a six-hour fishing charter on the Lil’ Angler II out of Lewes.
Moyer said he is raising funds to hire a lawyer to fill out the paperwork associated with becoming a 501(c)3 nonprofit. It’s a process that can take months, and Moyer wants to make sure it’s done right the first time.
“I’d rather pay a lawyer the money and know the paperwork has been filled out correctly than have someone get back to me, tell me I did something wrong and have it delayed for another 60 days,” said Moyer. Any additional money will go toward the purchasing of equipment for interested families who don’t have fishing gear.
Moyer will be selling tickets to the fundraiser during the Home & Outdoor Expo Saturday, March 22, at the Roxana Fire Company, 35943 Zion Church Road, Frankford.
Tickets can also be purchased by contacting Moyer at Forrest@sgyaa.org or by calling 302-827-4579.