WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — One Utah woman is finding new ways to interact with her neighbors, using a fishing pole and treats to do some socially distant “fishing.”
“I’m ready let’s go fishing,” Karalee Bennett laughed as she took off down the sidewalk of her West Valley City, Utah neighborhood.
Around these streets, Karalee is the self-proclaimed “fun neighbor.”
“I’m like Oprah or Madonna, my first name is enough,” Karalee laughed.
In the afternoons, you can find her touting around her neighborhood with a stocked tackle box and a fishing pole in hand – even though there aren’t any bodies of water nearby.
“[I] thought it was a beautiful day to go fishing and knew that I couldn’t go very far so I decided that I was going to get my fishing pole together and go fishing in the neighborhood,” Karalee said. “I know there’s not really any fish around here, but there’s lots of kids!”
Karalee’s version of ‘fishing’ is probably different than you would expect. Inside her tackle box (AKA her lunch box), you’ll find packs of fruit snacks taped to dollar bills. At the end of her fishing pole, the hook has been replaced by a large binder clip.
“I love my neighbors and I love my neighborhood and I love to see little kids smile and so I thought, ‘How can I see my neighbors without having to be too close, but still see them and see the smiles and have some fun?’” Karalee said. “I mean who doesn’t like fruit snacks and one-dollar bills?” she laughed.
That’s when neighborhood ‘fishing’ was born.
“I have some fruit snacks and one-dollar bills at home, I’m going to make a little clip and I’m going to go walk around my neighborhood and see which kids I can find to see if they want to go fishing and catch a fish,” Karalee smiled. “Why not have a little fun, right!?”
It’s definitely a new take on the sport. Karalee stands across the street from her neighbors’ houses, attaches a fruit snack money pack to the clip and then casts the line.
“You guys ready!?” One mom asked her three children as they got ready to ‘catch their fish.’
“You have to explain it a little bit when you ask them if they want to go fishing -- most people, they think they’re going to catch a fish, but [for me] it’s a little bit more catch and release,” Karalee laughed. “I just have to hope I get my fish across the street!”
To be honest, she’s not very good at ‘fishing’ (she knows it too).
“Maybe one day I’ll actually go fishing and catch a fish and not have to have my dad cast a reel for me,” she laughed.
But, she’s bringing the neighborhood together one cast at a time.
“Woohoo!” One family yelled when she landed a package right on their front doorstep. “That was a good one!” The mom clapped.
“There are still lots of ways we can connect with each other and be supportive of each other and have fun together, even while being socially distanced,” Karalee said. “That’s what it’s all about it being together in any creative way possible.”