In 1980 a group of anglers got together to fish the lakes of Connestee Falls and while bonding over tales of catching a “big one” created the Connestee Falls Fishing Club. Not only has the club grown during the last 43 years – it’s now close to 300 members strong – it has become so much more than a just a day on the lake. The club has expanded its reach to make fishing at Connestee accessible to those living outside the development.

The CF Fishing Club is one of the development’s most active and engaging clubs. It hosts several special events and programs throughout the year that help to raise funds to support lake maintenance expenses. Events like the annual fish fry, proceeds from calendar sales, raffles and silent auctions allow the club to stock fish in the community’s four lakes, monitor water quality and maintain optimal fishing conditions.

But these investments don’t cast a net quite as large as the one the club’s Outreach Committee does.

When the Outreach Committee was initially formed, it was intended to share the sport of fishing with a small group of people who lived outside the Connestee Falls. Under the former leadership of Nick Revill it has grown into a well-developed, large-scale program that reaches children, seniors and adults with disabilities who live in Transylvania County and beyond.

“The club’s goal is to make fishing accessible to not only our residents, but also to the bigger community of Transylvania County,” Club President George Goyette remarked. “With a dedicated outreach committee, our members have an opportunity to volunteer and teach fishing with the hope of getting folks ‘hooked’ on the sport!”

And that’s exactly what happens.

“When a child who never has fished gets a rod in their hands something special happens to them,” Committee Chair George Hewerston said. “It may not be an immediate reaction, but once they are outside, away from technology, in a place that is safe they begin to open up. First, they ask questions about fishing. Then they start asking questions about the outdoors and the natural environment. It’s wonderful to see them open their eyes to the beautiful world around them.”

Among the regular groups who enjoy a day of fishing are individuals from Black Mountain Home for Children, Youth & Families, Transylvania Vocational Services, Cedar Mountain House, Camp SHIELD, Special Olympics and the Boys & Girls Club. It is estimated that each season the club will host more than 300 individuals. Some of these are first-timers, but many are repeat participants.

While this activity is focused on exposing groups to the sport and everything that is involved in it including learning how to bait rods, casting and reeling in their catch, it also teaches something very special to the volunteers who stand beside them – joy.

“Our volunteers are the heart of the outreach program,” Hewerston said. “They make the event possible, but it’s their one-on-one time with the participants that make the experience memorable for them.”

“The mission of the Outreach Committee is to impact the local community through fishing,” said Carol Marines, co-committee chair. “But we – the volunteers – are just as impacted. By developing relationships with participants, especially the ones who return each season, we leave the experience with full hearts. Plus, there’s nothing quite as accelerating as watching a person catch their first fish, you immediately see their confidence grow.”

As the club gets ready for a new season of fishing their hope is to continue spreading the love of fishing to all.

If you are a group that is interested in a day of fishing, please email:

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