Soddy-Daisy's Mike Mayfield began fishing at age 5 and said he never will forget the lessons his father taught him on the water.
Now as a grandfather, he takes his granddaughters fishing on a regular basis to teach them the same lessons he learned. He bought his granddaughters lifetime fishing licenses, so they can continue fishing as long as they want to.
"The more you go fishing the better you get at it," said Mayfield, who caught his first bass fish at age 5; the fish weighed in at 5 pounds and 14 ounces. "The biggest bass I ever caught was 10 pounds and 10 ounces. I also caught an 8-pound bass."
In an effort to encourage men to continue to teach their children and grandchildren how to fish, Mayfield is coordinating the first-ever New Salem Baptist Men and Boys' Sportsman Fish Fry to be held Saturday, March 17 at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.
The church hopes to sell 550 tickets in order to pack the church full of local fishermen. Both local fish caught and other types of fish that will be purchased will be served at the event to give visitors an assortment to try.
"I was fortunate enough to have a dad that took me fishing, spent time with me and taught me how to fish," said Mayfield. "That's why I think the men and boys' event is so good, because fathers need to spend time with their children teaching them how to fish."
Professional bass fisherman Royce Railey will serve as the guest speaker at the fish fry event. Railey has a passion for fishing and sharing the gospel, and connects the two through his Go Fish Ministries that started in April 2011. Railey is a North American Mission Board Mission Service Corps volunteer. To learn more about him, visit http://www.gofishoutdoorministries.com/.
Following Railey's message, music minister Chris McDaniel will perform, singing and playing his keyboard. The grand finale of the event will be prize giveaways including gift certificates to restaurants, tackle stores and sporting goods stores. Attendees could walk away with new fishing equipment and free boat repairs. The grand prize will be a motor guide trolling motor. A special drawing for boys will give them a chance to win a fishing rod.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Fisheries Department representatives will be on site to show people how wildlife officials shock fish with shock tools in order to analyze them and then throw them back after testing.
Church clowns will be on site to entertain children.
"It's an event where a grandpa can bring a grandson, a father can bring a son or an uncle can bring a nephew," said Mayfield, adding that girls are welcome to attend too. "We are blessed to have all the waters around to fish in. Fishermen can catch smallmouth bass, crappie, largemouth bass, trout and brim all in the waters around here."
Mayfield said he uses a boat ramp near his home to fish often. In the summer he spends 10 hours per week fishing.