|Gone fishin’ for a good cause|
|Pro angler brings great outdoors to urban youngsters|
|Published Wednesday, September 26, 2012 3:18 pm|
Maliek Carrington is angling to bring fishing to a wider audience.
|Professional angler Maliek Carrington shows off a catch at Lake Wylie.|
Carrington, a professional angler who lives in Lake Wylie, S.C., encourages city kids – especially African Americans – to fish for recreation. Carrington, whose professional name is Mr. Maliek, competes in bass tournaments around the world.
“You have the Tiger Woods of golf, Venus and Serena (Williams) of tennis, and now we have the Maliek of fishing,” he said.
Fishing, which started out as a means of survival, is a professional sport worth billions to participants, tournament hosts and professional organizations. Relatively few blacks are on the major tours, such as Bass Anglers Sportsmen Society or the Professional Angers Association.
“Fishing is now a $125 billion sport, and African Americans don’t make up a fraction of it,” Carrington said, adding relatively few black anglers are on professional tours.
Mr. Maliek’s interest in spreading the outdoors experience pushed him to found Fishing 4 Reel Outdoors, an angling organization dedicated to doing more than operating tournaments.
“Fishing 4 Reel changes lives, one child at a time,” Carrington said. “I have a goal of 4,000 kids and 4,000 (fishing) poles. I make sure to give away poles in every city I go to.”
While walking on Far Rockaway Beach, N.Y., at a young age, an elderly man offered Carrington and his friends a seat, wisdom, guidance and a fishing pole. From that day on Carrington fished whether the elderly man was there or not. That day was the start of his career as the “Urban Angler.”
Carrington, who turned professional in 2006, has a team of 55 anglers and partners with other organizations. He is the founder of Reel-Mentors, a nonprofit program that encourages children to spend quality time with their family through fishing as well as water safety.
Carrington is also in talks with a local production company on developing a pilot for a reality show and a how-to video.
“Being a professional fisherman is all about how you carry yourself, how you give back to the community and how you bless others,” he said.
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