At the Bassmaster Classic, fishing might be all about competition, but to Malik Wilder fishing means one thing: Finding Inspiration, Sharing Hope.
Wilder came to the Bassmaster Classic on behalf of FISH Inc., a nonprofit organization that focuses on teaching underprivileged youth fishing and life lessons, to catch up with the pros and connect with those involved in the fishing industry. “I’m just so happy to be here,” Wilder said.
His organization was started about six years ago in New Jersey, where he learned to fish as a kid on the Rahway River, Milton Lake and other local waters. “I was inspired by my dad when I was younger, who introduced me to fishing,” Wilder said.
Now he’s brought his program to the Atlanta metro area. He’s teamed up this year with Male Creed, a youth mentoring program, and will teach about 30 children from Meadowcreek Elementary School in Norcross, Ga., how to fish. Over seven Saturdays, Wilder will teach fundamental lessons of fishing and life: patience, preparation, respect, teamwork, focus, opportunity, success and safety. The first lesson will include going to Bass Pro Shops to learn the economics of fishing and the different baits, rods, reels and other equipment.
“I want the kids to feel they can earn a living fishing, and there’s more to the sport than casting a lure into water,” Wilder said. “You can learn to navigate through life.”
For more information about FISH Inc., visit fishinc.org. Volunteer applications, youth applications and opportunities to donate are available on the website as well.
This article was written by: Jennifer Dome and Photo taken by Jennifer Dome for BASSMASTER Magazine, 2012.