“I am not giving away our spot,” City of Opa-locka’s Vice Mayor Joseph L. Kelley jovially responded when asked to reveal the lucky “honey hole,” where the size and the amount of the “catch” would make the most skilled fishermen envious enough to inquire about the location of the Vice Mayor's Annual Seniors Fishing Trip on Monday, April 15, 2013.
Blue skies, mild temperatures and a perfect site made for a great day of biting, as approximately 25 seniors cast their lines into the water and waited for mullets, bluegills and catfish to nibble at hooks, baited with earthworms provided by the Vice Mayor. According to one senior, “The frequency in which those fish attached themselves to the line, you didn’t need a lot of patience, because the fish wanted a snack, just as much as they wanted to become a snack!”
In Florida, between the ocean, rivers, lakes and canals, fishing is such a common past-time for people of all ages to take pleasure when seeking quiet moments or time alone with family or friends. It is an activity where grandparents often pass-on their secrets for catching “the big one,” while sharing traditions, reminiscing, telling tales or creating new stories along-side their “best bud.” Vice Mayor Kelley, who has been doing this for at least 10 years, stated that he is “always glad to give back a small token of appreciation to the Seniors through these fishing trips, where they look forward to bonding on the water.” Although this event doesn’t cost the seniors anything, they are required to bring their own fishing pole and bucket.
The trip began at 8:30 AM and ended around 1:00PM, when Kelley began peeping into a few of the pails. He discovered that one of the men caught five fishes, while among the women, Mrs. Dorothy Bishop caught four, Mrs. Sadie Jones and Mrs. Ollie B. Kelley each reeled-in two while others proudly displayed the “one that didn’t get away.” Although Mrs. Jerri Baker didn’t get a hold of her prize fish on this trip, she excitedly reserved her seat on the bus for a return outing to this covert fresh-water haven discovered by the Vice Mayor.
As for the “hot spot,” Kelley would only speak in terms of proximities and generalities as he shared, “The bus took 30-40 minutes to get near Highway 27 on Alligator Alley in Broward County.” The “sharp as a hook” seniors weren’t telling at all, for they conveniently and convincingly “forgot,” when anyone tried to lure them in, by “fishing” for the location of their private retreat.
“They love the trips, but there is a drawback,” Kelley commented, “…they are never ready to leave when it’s time to pack-up,” he laughed! For this reason, the Vice Mayor is considering more fishing expeditions for the group, throughout the year. “After all, how many fun, safe, FREE activities are there for our seniors?” He added, “This is the type of quality time and memories they enjoy creating. It enriches their lives and they benefit from the outdoor experience through fresh air, exercise and socializing, during this unique excursion.” Kelley stated, “At the end of the day, they compare who caught the BIGGEST and the MOST, before heading home to prepare the BEST “catch of the day!”