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Posted on Oct 3, 2011 in Next Cast
Fishing Plus Giving
by Chris Woodward
140-IMG 1980
Charlie Levine

In the next few weeks, I’ll be heading to Central America to fish for tarpon and snook. As part of my job, I take one or two such semi-exotic excursions a year so I can write about new opportunities for our traveling-angler readers.

Why yes, I do realize how fortunate I am! I know that some of my trips would constitute once-in-a-lifetime adventures for many anglers.

Because of that, I plan ample time to fish — usually three days — and I set aside one day to experience an activity that’s truly unique for the area. In southern Belize, I explored a cacao farm. I had a wood-fire-prepared lunch with a local Mayan family.

In British Columbia, I toured the northern rainforest. In Costa Rica, I photographed sloths and toucans.

While all of those experiences truly enriched my life —and I hope those of our readers — there’s one journey I’ve really wanted to take. It’s called a Reel Life Adventure (www.reellifeadventures.org).

What Reel Life Adventures founder Michael O’Neal and his groups of anglers do is travel to other countries like the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico and Guatemala to fish and then connect with various mission organizations to make a difference in the lives of children and families in need. Our sister publication, Marlin, first learned of and wrote about O’Neal’s organization and its fishing-plus philosophy.

RLA projects have included providing building materials, emergency supplies, sewing machines and other goods for various projects and working alongside local families to paint and repair buildings and homes.

What better way to mix the pleasure of our sport with our will to help others? You’ll go home with more than just an album of pretty pictures.