Grandma Dot Steenwyk caught the biggest fish during the Kelowna Yacht Club's annual Blind Fishing Derby on Saturday, but someone else had to hold the fish for a photo because she didn't want to touch it.
But hold the biggest fish caught during the Kelowna Yacht Club's annual Blind Fishing Derby? Not a chance.
"I don't like touching them. They're slimy. But it's kind of exciting at my age," said the 79-year-old grandmother. "My granddaughter, Samantha, is the fisherman."
Although 20-year-old Samantha Steenwyk has caught many fish since she was young, Capt. Chuck Robertson, past club commodore and boat owner, gave her grandmother all the tips she needed.
"Capt. Chuck wanted her to kiss it," joked Samantha.
"I felt a little bit of tugging. I was scared," said Grandma Dot.
"I pulled it in with the aid of Capt. Chuck because I don't like it. I don't like fishing. But it is so much fun, what the yacht club does for us every year. I've been coming to the derby for the blind for eight years, and Samantha comes with me. Today was beautiful on the lake. It turned out nice considering it meant to rain."
Ed Martsinkiw was also among the 40 visually impaired Kelowna residents from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind who went fishing or had a lake tour on 11 boats owned and operated by yacht club members.
"I love fishing. I've been fishing since I was a kid. I got the second biggest fish on that boat today," he bragged. "I've gone in this derby 12-15 years. I've never missed it for years, but this is the first time I've caught a fish."
About 10 years ago, he caught a rubber doll about 25 centimetres high that a yacht club member quietly slipped on his line.
"A couple of years later, I got Ogopogo, about 12-14 inches long," he said with a laugh.
With his visual impairment, Martsinkiw either gets someone to drive him to the downtown yacht club or he catches a public transit bus "because I love this derby."
His fishing buddy Saturday was Larry Lefebvre, who helped organize the derby but also knows Martsinkiw from blind curling every Sunday.
Club members feel they get as much - if not more - out of having these special guests on board their boats for the derby as the visually impaired enjoy the outing, he said.
Yacht club members tell him afterward: "Larry, I want to get involved in this again because I feel like I received more than I gave. And I'd love to do it again."
Organizer Shannon Gall noted the derby is one of many activities in which the club gives back to the community. Club members volunteer their boats, their time and their fuel "to provide this unique experience to our fellow citizens who seldom experience the pleasure of boating," she said.
"We do a few events throughout the year that either benefit disabled sailors, children with disabilities or visually impaired people.
"It was a great day. It was a little late with the sunshine, but better late than never. We had some cancellations because it was pouring.
"On our boat, we fished but we didn't catch anything. We weren't quite so lucky."
The derby was followed by lunch in the clubhouse, where the older Steenwyk was presented with a small trophy for the largest fish. Her name will be inscribed on a larger trophy.