For 13 years, Chris Lane has been holding his “Reeling in Future Pros” event, and he wasn’t going to allow the coronavirus outbreak to stop him this year. Granted, the Alabama pro had to adjust some key aspects of the event, but the main mission still was accomplished: give more kids an opportunity to fish.
“Our main goal with this is to maintain the longevity of our sport,” Lane explained. “A lot of these kids don’t have the means to even go fishing, and that’s what we want to help with.”
On Saturday, May 23, hundreds of kids and their families lined up in the Guntersville Foodland parking lot for their chance to take home a free fishing rod.
This year, Lane’s event was able to partner with the Major League Fishing Angler’s Association for the first time, bringing in names like Boyd Duckett, Jordan Lee, Randy Howell and Justin Lucas to help hand out fishing supplies to the kids.
Lane and his four fellow anglers handed out bags filled with rod and reel combos from Bass Pro Shops, baits from Boyd Duckett Baits, frogg toggs Chilly Pads, Tony Chachere’s seasoning and more. Their goal was to hand out bags to 200 kids, and they met that goal rather quickly with still plenty more kids waiting in line. But those who didn’t get a bag didn’t go home empty-handed, thanks to the MLF anglers.
“Some of the kids were waiting in line for two, sometimes three hours,” Lane said. “Even though we weren’t able to get poles to everyone who came out, those who didn’t get a bag came through the line and got to meet the pros and get some autographs. You could tell how much it meant to those kids just to get to meet a guy like Jordan Lee and see his truck and boat.”
Lane says his goal for next year is to make it even bigger, trying to increase the number of poles and bags they are able to hand out. He expressed how happy he was that they were able to accomplish their mission, but also how extremely appreciative he was of his fellow anglers.
“To have those guys come out on their Memorial Day weekend and take time out of their busy schedule, not only meant the world to me but, more importantly, it meant everything to the kids. I can’t thank Boyd, Justin, Jordan and Randy enough for their support in this event and I can guarantee you the kids won’t forget their kindness anytime soon.”