There’s nothing quite like a laid-back day of deep water fishing, and Ben’s Fishing Dock is an ideal place to do just that. Just a stone’s throw from the Marina Village yet removed enough for you to focus on your fishing, Ben’s is the local covered dock for all ages and skill levels of fisherman, from wannabe to dedicated. Rub shoulders with locals and fishermen from all over the world. Swap stories, daydream or simply chill with a bevy. Stock up and replenish supplies from the Marina fishing store and you can spend a relaxing day. Set your line, marvel at the spectacular scenery, pass the time with fishing banter or in-depth discussion, watch the world go by and hopefully, without trying too hard, catch some fish.
Read the amazing story below to discover how Ben’s Fishing Dock received its name:
Written by Bill Morrison
These are the two articles that were printed in Wayne’s Words announcing the dedication of the dock and the story behind it. What wasn’t mentioned is that Jerry and Kevin flew up and was present for the dedication. As you know, Ben is now 15 and still fishes every time he has the chance. Additionally, he loves to wakeboard, skate, and surf. These are all things we wouldn’t have thought possible when he was younger, and are things he learned at APM. I can still remember Burl spending hours with Ben trying to get him up on a wakeboard for the first time, neither of them willing to give up until finally there was success. Now he boards all the time and has actually become quite good at it. For us, APM isn’t just a place where we come to recreate. It’s a special place where families and friendships develop and blossom. I can only begin to explain what the Antelope Point experience has meant and continues to mean for us.
Thanks for all you do,
My wife and two children and I keep a boat at Antelope Marina. Our son Ben, (age 9), has a brain injury which causes significant left side weakness. He has made tremendous progress through physical and occupational therapy, but he simply can’t do much with his left arm and hand. One of the things Ben can do and enjoys more than anything in the world is fishing. When we are at the lake, Ben tends to fish night and day. On those occasions when we don’t leave the slip, he will either fish from the back of the boat or from the dock. Earlier this year we discovered that the nighttime fishing from the Antelope fuel dock was quite good. The combination of lights and plenty of anchovy chum often did the trick.
Unfortunately, the Park Service informed Antelope management that fishing from the fuel dock would not be allowed and so we had to stop. Soon afterwards, Antelope informed us they were going to build a fishing dock, mostly due to our situation. We were thrilled and amazed at their concern for the satisfaction of one 9 year old customer.
Last week we received a phone call from an Antelope employee telling us that they were planning a ribbon cutting ceremony for “Ben’s Fishing Dock” and that they were having those words inscribed on several of the concrete tiles which make up the platform of the dock. When it sunk in and I called my wife to tell her, we both cried. Unfortunately, she was in the checkout line of a local market and was quite embarrassed. The ceremony is this Friday (9-2-2005) at 6:30 PM and Ben knows nothing about it.
We understand that you can’t ‘name’ anything in a National Recreation Area and there will probably come a time when NPS will force Antelope to remove these tiles. However, to our family this is a remarkable act of kindness and compassion.
When you see my postings in support of what is happening at Antelope, you will understand. The people we deal with and the service they give to their customers is outstanding.
Thank you for the fantastic web-site and all of the great information. We really rely on it to plan our weekend getaways.
Prior to the festivities Ben noticed for the first time that his name was placed with honor on the first stone leading to the dock. His parents had kept all the details of what was going to happen to themselves. All Ben knew was that he was “going fishing”.
Bill Morrison was a proud Dad with a happy son heading out on a new fishing spot. Ben was busting with energy and wanted to get the bait in the water.
I took time to introduce myself and get a picture of the happy anglers before they could get to too far on to the dock
Ben’s way was blocked by a yellow ribbon. Mike Anderson, Antelope Marina Manager, conducted a short dedication ceremony. Mike explained how he was forced to prohibit this young man from fishing on the Gas Dock earlier in the week due to lakewide regulations prohibiting that act. Mike found a way to make sure that Ben would have a place to fish. Soon the fish dock was created. Ben cut the ribbon at the end of the ceremony.
Bill was stoic as he felt so happy for his son. Mom went for the dark glasses. But it was perfectly all right to shed a tear or two in this situation.
As soon as the talking was over with, Ben raced to a vacant corner of the dock, dropped to the ground and started cutting chum and bait. This kid knew what he was doing.
My guess is Mike Anderson had not stopped all the furtive night fishing activity at the gas dock after all.
Bens preference was to use a 1/4 ounce jig head on fluorocarbon line. He prefers the mid section and chums with the heads and tails. I was standing there hoping to offer some advice to a novice angler.
Yeah right! He had the hook baited and ready to go. All I could do was stand back so I didn’t get in his way.
Ben didn’t cast out. He choose instead to count a certain number of pulls from his reel so he would know exactly how far down his bait would be. If he got bit then he would know the exact depth the fish were running and he could return to that spot to catch another fish. He stopped at 30 and put the rod in the holder.
Now a perfect ending to this story would be if young Ben could catch a fish while the crowd of folks was all gathered around watching him fish.
What are the odds of that happening?
The fairy tale climaxed in 90 seconds from the time he dropped the bait in the water. The rod jumped and Ben was on it like a hen on a june bug. He fought the 3 pound striper to the surface and looked for the net? No net – this was a dedication. I dropped the camera, got on my belly and lipped the fish for him. I was sweating bullets for fear I would let the fish get away. But all was aligned in perfect harmony and the fish came right in. We took some pictures and Ben could hardly contain himself wanting to get back to his rod so he could rebait and get his line back in the water.
That is where I left him – over at the far corner of the dock stripping out more line as his bait descended toward the next striper.