News: Boy Scouts enhance fishing at Fort Bragg lakes
Story by Spc. Cody Thompson
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – The Boy Scouts of America bear an oath to serve their country and help other people. The application of this oath today hasn’t been forgotten by Troop 726, who built new benches and nesting containers for catfish at the lakes on Fort Bragg, N.C. These two projects were led by David Tilini, 17, and Aaron Caruso, 15, to enhance the lake experience for Families and fishermen in the Fort Bragg area.
All of the scouts got together one night to build the benches and in the morning the troop installed them, said Aaron, a Fayetteville, N.C., native. Texas Lake was the focus for this project because of the amount of Families who spend time there, said Caruso.
Upon completing Aaron’s project, the troop shifted their focus to David’s underwater nesting containers. The containers would provide a safe, dark area for channel catfish to breed naturally in Wyatt and McKellar’s Lakes.
“I did a lot of research and there aren’t many places for [catfish] to breed,” said David.
David’s research concluded that catfish mate in closed environments, like hollow logs and coves. Each of the 16 containers were produced by fastening two of the plastic buckets’ open ends together, cutting a hole in the top, and attaching a bobber with a metal cable.
Five of the containers were taken to a lake a few miles away by Joe Heisinger, a local fisheries biologist with the Fort Bragg Wildlife Branch. Heisinger said that they would like to create more containers in the future.
“We consulted with Mr. Heisinger and he not only helped us make them but went to Lowe’s and bought the supplies,” explained Tilini.
Aaron had to wade into the water; while Heisinger tracked the best potential breeding areas with a fish finder.
“The water was pretty cold,” explained Aaron.
“They were shivering,” added Fred Caruso, their scout master.
“But it was for a good reason, because not only did we help the community, but it felt good to help our fellow scouts,” said Aaron.
Although the two scouts were guided by Fred, the implementation of the projects was completely Aaron and David’s mission.
“The emphasis is on leadership,” said Fred. “They figured out the projects, supplies needed and helped each other’s project. One minute they were leading and a few hours later they were building.”
As a retired Army doctor of 15 years, Fred understands what separates an effective from an ineffective leader.
“Principles of great leadership are to put a team together of the most knowledgeable people, but it is worst to put someone in charge who thinks they know everything,” said Fred. “Aaron and David gave their teams a chance and listened to their ideas. This is why their projects were so successful.”