A smiling young girl in shorts, long sleeve shirt and cap, holds her fishing pole and trophy in hand with two men standing on either side of her sharing in her happy moment.

An excited youngster poses with her fishing rod and trophy.

To look at the website of the North Georgia Crappie Anglers, you might think that the 150 men and women members would be too busy serving the community to take time to fish. In some ways, you’d be correct.

However, its members from across North Georgia do plenty of both, often combining a fishing tournament for children or veterans with a chance to spend a day on the water.

“Twelve of us got together eight years ago to create a family-oriented club that’s dedicated to education and community service,” said Woodie Burk Malone Jr., who spent many years as a kid fishing Lake Lanier with his father, Woodie Burk Malone, former mayor of Chamblee for 32 years. “Our mission for the club from the very beginning was to give back in as many ways as we could, and that’s just what we do.”

Yes, there’s plenty of fishing, from nearly a dozen tournaments each year – some for members and others for the public or special groups – to family multi-night fishing trips to Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, the Carolinas or around Georgia, the members stay active.

A young boy showing off the fish he caught.“This is our network of friends and family,” he said. “Each year we have a low-country boil, a pig roast, quarterly fish fries and other social events for members. We go to comedy clubs together, Braves games, dinners, but we always keep others in the community in mind.”

For club members, fishing education and introducing more people to the sport is important, even if they don’t ever fish again.

“There are so many people who just aren’t able to experience fishing or even being on the water, so we host groups from the military, such as the Wounded Warriors Project, Fishing with Everyday Heroes, first responders, various children’s groups, people with disabilities or are wheelchair bound.”

A group of male and female anglers standing on a pontoon boat, posing for photo during a fishing tournament.

Posing for a photo during one of many tournament outings.

The club’s 26 female members have created their own set of events for groups including My Sister’s Place, The Place and Jessie’s House in Cumming. The activities may be a pontoon boat ride and lunch, or it may be a fishing event.

“We volunteer at Meals By Grace, donate kids fishing poles to other group’s tournaments, and we’ll be gearing up for the Toys For Tots this month to help out the US Marine Corps make kid’s Christmas wishes come true.”

Malone spent his career in the real estate business, buying houses, fixing them up and reselling them. He said that one of his favorite things to do to support the club is to cold call.

“You give me a lead and I’m reaching out to them to help us with events, trophies and other costs for these groups we help. We don’t charge a single penny to the groups we bring out to the lake.

A young family with their fishing captain, showing off the fish they caught.“Our community involvement is all about people power, donating our time, pitching in and helping,” he said. “What we have to give to the community and other people is our time, our fishing knowledge and just pitching in to help. It’s about people power, and since many of us are retired, our club gives them a way to give back and say thank you.”

The North Georgia Crappie Club’s membership meetings take place on the second Thursday of each month, 6 p.m., at the VFW Hall, 1045 Dahlonega Highway, Cumming. People who are interested in joining are welcome. For more information about the club or to become a sponsor, visit northgeorgiacrappieanglers.com or call Malone at 770 634-6539.

Photos: courtesy of NGCA Club