Whether it’s talk about their latest catch, learning new fishing techniques, or getting out on a lake to practice, the Blue Anglers Fishing Club at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) brings education, camaraderie, adventure, and sport together in this non-traditional school club.
“I think it’s important to entice and invoke interests, chase passions in a non-competitive environment, and increase a level of experiential education outside of the classroom for lifelong learning,” says Adrian Spagnolo ’02, club co-moderator and teacher at SMCS.
“The club provides an opportunity to bond and develop lasting friendships with others who share the same passion,” says Grade 11 student, Karol Lukowski. “It’s a stress reliever, in which you are out in nature and the entire purpose is to fulfill that need to have a successful catch, the desire to catch any fish, whether it be some yellow perch or a giant northern pike and the thrill of having to successfully bring in the fish is what it’s all about.”
“Over the past 10 years, it’s evolved from a fishing crew of 8-10 students to 24 students strong,” says Spagnolo.
The Blue Anglers Fishing Club, which is open to all grade levels, meets once a week beginning in late November.
“We’ve started to increase the frequency of meetings to allow for more opportunities for kids to be present,” says Spagnolo.
“We discuss various fishing topics and use the time to prepare the boys for their fishing adventures,” says Alain Arseneau, club co-moderator and teacher at SMCS. Discussions focus on different types of fish species, ecological stewardship, and the preservation of species.
In addition to the club’s weekly meetings, they also connect regularly through an online Edsby group.
“Blue Anglers is like a community inside of a community,” says Grade 8 student David Bedkowski, who joined the club last year. Bedkowski says he enjoys “being able to share cool catches and great fishing stories through the Edsby group and at meetings after school.”
“It’s also helpful to learn from experienced fishermen in the group,” he adds.
Lukowski joined the Blue Anglers when he began the ninth grade at SMCS.
“I saw it as an opportunity to share one of my passions with others,” says Lukowski. “Ever since I was a little kid, the sport of fishing has always been my favourite thing to do, whether it be fishing alone, with a friend, or any members of my family. The ability to meet other students at the school who share the same passion as me, and to be able to go on fishing trips and have a great time with them, is just an opportunity that not many communities have. It is one of the reasons that makes St. Michael’s College School the great place it is.”
Each year, the Blue Anglers take off on two fishing trips near Toronto, which is always a highlight.
“One in the winter where we go to Lake Simcoe to do some ice fishing,” says Arseneau. “The other, in the spring where we go shore fishing on the Toronto Island for pike, in mid- to late-May.”