LINCOLN — The city of Lincoln will soon be offering a new sport, fishing.
This week the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department announced that it will be adding fishing to the roster of sports it offers for local young people.
Park and Recreation Director Colin Aiken said the idea for his department to offer fishing came from brainstorming with Athletics Director Sean Dempsey. He said the opening of Lincoln’s Landing really gave the two the idea and they decided to reach out to Lincoln’s Landing Director Les Robinson about the idea.
Turns out, Robinson had been working on restarting a team at Lincoln High School since he started with the city in February 2021, but ultimately the extra liability associated with the team proved to be a hurdle. He said that's when he, Aiken and Dempsey started looking at the possibility of a city supported program.
“I made a call to a couple people I know with the [Bass Angler Sportsman Society], whose umbrella all fishing teams in the state of Alabama have to fall under,” he said.
He said all the process took was getting the blessing of the city council and mayor and getting the high school to sign an official denial letter.
Aiken said after getting all that together, the city is moving forward with the team. He and Dempsey see the program as a way to get more young people involved in city sports, as fishing offers something different. The team allows only sixth through 12th graders.
“It's going to be a way for kids who don't do traditional sports to have an opportunity to do something different,” Aiken said, “because any kid can do this.”
Dempsey and Robinson also said it's a good opportunity for girls to participate in a sport and even get scholarships. Robinson said scholarships chances for female anglers can even be higher, as there are generally fewer people to compete against.
“You have fewer females fishing in high school so there's more scholarship opportunity for them than the males because there's less competition,” he said. “So if you are female and you are fishing in high school chances are pretty good you are going to get a scholarship to go fish.”
Robinson said it means a lot for the city to be able to offer a place for young anglers when it has a facility like Lincoln’s Landing.
“We’ve got a world class fishing facility in this town and it was a shame that there was not a fishing team to use this as their home base,” he said. “That's basically what we are trying to establish.”
Aiken agreed that with the facilities Lincoln has it was more strange there wasn't a team.
“There's no reason that we shouldn't have a fishing team somewhere in the community because of what we have out there,” he said.
Dempsey said that it's also a good opportunity for the city to offer more to the growing community. He said the city is certainly unique in being in the position to offer it.
“No city offers this,” Dempsey said.
Aiken said despite the city organizing the team the anglers themselves will have to work to get sponsorships and provide their own equipment. For the organization Dempsey said he plans to help oversee the fishing team personally.
Aiken said for anyone interested the city is hosting an interest meeting for the fishing team on May 31 at 5:30 at the Lincoln City Center. All young people who are in sixth through 12th grade are free to join the team.