Wendell Lions Club sponsors Zebulon man’s fishing trip

mhankerson@newsobserver.comJanuary 6, 2014 

John Lee of Zebulon was one community member the Wendell Lions Club sponsored on a fishing trip to Nags Head. Even though Lee has a vision impairment, he still likes to fish on his own.

PHOTO COURTESY OF LORRAINE DIXON — COURTESY OF LORRAINE DIXON

— John Lee has been a fan of fishing since he started when he was 14.

“I just like to throw my hook in the water and reeling them in and taking them off my line,” he said.

In 2000, Lee’s retina detached and it left him with limited vision. Since then, he still fishes but he sometimes needs help casting his line and attaching his bait.

Lee usually relies on his wife when he needs help, but recently, the Wendell Lions Club became his assistant when they took him and others on a fishing trip to Nags Head.

Each year, the Wendell Lions sponsor a few members of the blind community (or people with vision impairments, like Lee) to go on their VIP Fishing Tournament. It includes a time for fishing and time for visiting special sites. The club provides transportation to and from the location as well.

“The fishing was the best,” Lee said. “I had been to Nags Head before but it had been seven years. I didn’t catch a lot of fish but I enjoyed it.”

Volunteers with the club assist mostly by baiting hooks and casting lines, then allowing trip-goers to do the rest on their own.

Lee, who tries to go on his own fishing trips once or twice a year, said he can still fish mostly by himself.

“When your vision is bad or you have no vision it’s hard to cast your line out exactly where you want to be,” Lee said. “You don’t want to get your line tangled up (with someone else).”

“I like to try to do it on my own”

Even with vision trouble, Lee said he can still enjoy most of the same hobbies he did before he lost his vision, like fishing. He enjoys going to races and likes to go to basketball games.

At games (he favors State even though he has a granddaughter at Carolina), Lee’s son or wife helps him scope out a seat. He likes to sit low, near the court.

“That way I can, with what little vision I do have, I can see a little bit,” he said.

Even when he is fishing, he tries to make sure he can still do it as close to the same way he did when he was younger.

“I like to get away from lots of people and I like to try to do it on my own,” he said, about casting his line on his own.

Lee’s favorite part of the whole trip was the fishing, but the group also visited a rock garden and Lee said he appreciated the opportunity to meet other people with vision impairments.

After the trip, Lee, who was not involved with the Lions Club before, said he is thinking about getting involved in some way.

“This is my first time ever getting involved in (the Lions Club) but it’s something I’m thinking about doing,” he said. “I think I want to get involved with them a little bit.”

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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