OSTERVILLE – The fisherman wore a Tom Brady jersey, and a winning smile just like the Patriots’ real #12. J.P. Kennedy, 19, of Cotuit, held the fish he just caught while the “paparazzi,” cell phones and all that, snapped away.
Kennedy was at the Dowses Beach handicapped accessible fishing pier with the Barnstable Recreation Department’s Sunshine Program, a social program for adults with disabilities.
Helping Kennedy with his fish was Michelle Davies, program coordinator with the Barnstable Recreation Department. This was the 6th annual “Hooked on Fishing” event that was being held, said Davies, to “let people know about the accessible fishing pier.”
Mark Ells, Barnstable assistant town manager, who fishes in the area and was at the event, said, “This is a wonderful
opportunity to be able to teach people to fish.” And he said, “It’s a passive activity you can enjoy for your whole life.”
He credited the town’s handicapped accessibility board for getting the handicapped fishing pier built. He said it is a popular fishing spot. “We know because the fish boards are dirty and the DPW has to come over and clean them,” he said.
According to Davies, this was the first trip of the summer to the pier for the Sunshine Program because the beach requires beach stickers during
summer season. But on Saturday in spectacular weather, parking was free and fishing was a new and obviously joyful experience for the smiling participants.
“They’re learning a new skill,” said Davies. “And obviously, this is about quality of life. You never know exactly what is going to float your boat until you try it.”
“If you have a disability,” said Davies, “Dowses Beach is a great place to come.”
As for fishing… “We get stripers and blues just off this jetty all the time,” said Ells. “All sorts of scup on the other side, and in the river we get all sorts of stripers and blues.”
— Brian Tarcy