Master Scouts Don Corne and Cheryl Constatine assist Scouts in hauling in catches and casting lines aboard the fishing vessel Blackhawk Tuesday, August 2, 2022. (Kevin Arnold/The Day)
Ryker Lavallee, Barrick Lavallee, Jacob Bridgewater, Tayton Lavallee and Nathan Lavallee of Troop 15 play cards aboard the Blackhawk fishing vessel en route to a fishing spot, Tuesday, August 2, 2022. (Kevin Arnold/The Day)
Siobhan Harkins, 13, of Troop 1017, reels in a catch with the help of her father Stu, Tuesday, August 2, 2022, aboard the Blackhawk fishing vessel. (Kevin Arnold/The Day)
Mate Morgan Whittaker shows Quintin Gill’s first of 10 catches on Tuesday, August 2, 2022. (Kevin Arnold/The Day)
Mate Morgan Whittaker helps a scout unhook a catch as Assistant Scoutmaster Don Corne looks on Tuesday August 2, 2022 aboard the Blackhawk fishing vessel. (Kevin Arnold/The Day)
Mate Morgan Whittaker, 17, shows Boy Scouts from Troop 15 and 1017 how to hook their bait and cast their line aboard the Blackhawk fishing vessel en route to a fishing spot Tuesday August 2, 2022. (Kevin Arnold/The Day)
East Lyme – For a local fishing company, the catch of the day always gives back to the community.
That’s exactly what Blackhawk Sport Fishing in Niantic did Tuesday night when owner and Captain Greg Dubrule donated a fishing trip to Tolland’s Boy Scout Troops 15 and 1017.
The price of admission for the Scouts was a non-perishable food donation, which Dubrule gave to the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center in New London.
“Just giving back, that’s all,” Dubrule said. “This is my 56th year in this business. The business has served me very well over the years. I’m just trying to give back whenever we can.”
“We told them that just as Greg gives back to the community, they need to give back,” said David Carlson, who has organized many similar trips for veterans and other groups.
Dubrule’s daughter, Heather Harris, runs the Blackhawk in the Community program, which focuses on attracting the next generation of fishermen to the sport and community.
“We have such a unique opportunity to do good things,” Harris said.
Harris said Blackhawk Fishing has donated “hundreds and hundreds” of fishing trips to groups through silent auctions, basket raffles and group fundraisers. Most recently, they held an underwear drive for a community partner who was asking for help. Harris said within four hours of posting the fundraiser on Facebook, people were in business with donations.
“We should do this because we can and we’re so lucky,” she said.
Blackhawk has previously sponsored trips for groups of military veterans with the help of Carlson. When Dubrule told Carlson he wanted to get more kids fishing, Carlson reached out to some Boy Scout troopers.
Tolland Scouts BSA Troop 1017 Scout Master Cheryl Constantine called Scouts “an organization that is creating the next generation and generations of leaders out there,” and explained that the trip is a “perfect” way to prepare youth for a different outdoor experience to interest activity.
“It’s good for them,” added Don Corne, an assistant scout master with both Troop 15 and 1017. “It teaches them citizenship and leadership.”
While Dubrule “fears” where the recreational fishing industry is headed with today’s youth so preoccupied with electronics and the internet, scouts proved him wrong on Tuesday.
Playing cards during the four-mile drive to the fishing spot, a group of Troop 15 scouts talked about their favorite fishing activities.
Ryker Lavallee said he loves the “satisfaction of catching a fish,” even though he wants to be an engineer when he grows up. His brother Barrick said he likes the “fight” with every catch.
“You have to catch it or you’ll lose it,” Barrick explained.
Her other brother, Tayton, said he most enjoys “the surprise” of every catch, while her father and companion, Nathan, really likes that fishing requires “a bit of patience” from any Scout.
These scouts align with Blackhawk’s Mini Mate program, which brings younger children on board to learn the ins and outs of the business.
After 17-year-old deckmate Morgan Whittaker taught the Scouts how to bait their hooks and cast their lines, the Scouts hit the road and fished. Parents and Scoutmasters along with comrade staff were there as helping hands to help unhook fish, add more bait and untangle line as needed.
Quintin Gill, a 13-year-old scout with Troop 15, caught two fish in the first 10 minutes. He ended the day with 10 catches, although he chalked up the first two “lucky”.
13-year-old Shiobhan Harkins of Troop 1017 staggered in Porgies with her father Stu, who said his daughter has been a “lifelong addict” to fish. She would also hit the double digit mark in catches that day.
The troops returned to shore after more than three hours on the water with coolers full of filleted porgies and a sea bass. The group of 40 fishermen and women thanked their captain for his donation as he thanked them for the two cars full of food they had donated.
Carlson left the group with a farewell message.
“I hope you’ve learned one thing from this journey: give back to your community.”