Go Fish Academy in Gahanna reels in students with interest in angling

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group

Brad Fisher is hooking youths and adults alike with his passion for angling.

Fisher, a Gahanna resident, launched Go Fish Academy in April to teach the basics of fishing, according to his Facebook page

“If you are new to fishing or just want to move beyond catching bluegill with a hook and bobber, our courses are designed for you,” the social-media site says.

Ava Mullins, a fifth-grader at Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools' Goshen Lane Elementary School, baits a hook with a worm during a Go Fish Academy class April 25.

“The coronavirus was so brutally painful with my other businesses, and I needed something to look forward to,” said Fisher, who is owner and business manager of C-Suites Executive Offices, where the Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce has maintained offices for over a decade. 

He’s also interim president of the chamber and a life-insurance and annuity agent at Rockpointe Financial in the Creekside area. 

"Because I love fishing, I wondered if people would want to learn to fish,” Fisher said. “I created a little company called Go Fish Academy. I started a very simple website, where I had a form people could fill out if they would be interested in taking classes in the spring.”

Fisher put it on Facebook, and within an hour, he had 30 families register. 

“I was like, OK, this is interesting,” he said. “So about a week later, I put another thing out on Facebook. I got another 30 families.” 

Fisher said he spent a little money on a more professional website and added class dates, and people started registering. 

“I have over 40 participants signed up,” he said. 

Fisher said he originally thought classes would be for children, but he had several senior citizens express interest.

“I’ve had grandmas and grandpas out here catching fish, and they’ve never fished in their lives,” he said. “It has been really exciting.”

Fisher – ThisWeek would be remiss to not note his suitable last name – said he started fishing when he was 5 years old and living in Michigan. 

“My grandfather had a cottage on Baptist Lake, a real small lake in Michigan,” he said. “That’s where I learned to fish. He would take me out and teach me. And I’ve loved it ever since.”

During the past few years, Fisher said, it has become his main hobby. 

“I have five kids, so I’ve taught my kids how to fish,” he said. “I’ve taught neighborhood kids how to fish; I’ve taught their friends how to fish. It’s kind of one of those things, I thought, if I could make a little money doing my hobby, why not give it a try? It has grown very quickly in a short amount of time.”

Go Fish Academy students (from foreground) Deb Lenihan, husband Lou Hoyer, their granddaughter Ava Mullins and classmate Tara Barnes try their angling skills April 25 at a private pond.

Deb Lenihan said she registered other family members, knowing she probably would be the one fishing. 

“We’re loving it,” she said. “This has been a good experience.”

She's taking classes with her husband, Lou Hoyer, and their granddaughter Ava Mullins, 11.

Ava, a Goshen Lane Elementary School fifth-grader, said the academy is “awesome.”

She said she learned all about the different lures, hooks and worms.

“What haven’t I learned?” she said.

“Grandma, look!” she called as she unhooked a fish. “It’s Nemo with one big fin and one little fin.”

“The important thing is she’s having fun,” Hoyer said.

Tara Barnes is in the class with her sons, Cole, 8, and Grant, 10.  

“It has been great,” she said. “Brad and others help us learn and have patience. It gets them excited. I don’t have the tools to each them. We’ve learned a lot. It puts the spark, interest in them. It’s a lot of fun.”

“It’s amazing,” Cole said. 

Austin Reed, a Reynoldsburg resident, said the class was a way for him and future stepson Xavier Scott to learn together. 

“It sounded like a great opportunity to get our feet wet,” he said. “So far we’ve been having a good time. Brad is knowledgeable. I didn’t know about all the hooks and lures. I just knew of hook and bobber fishing.”

Xavier, a Royal Manor Elementary School fourth-grader, said his favorite part is “hooking a fish and learning how to do it.”

Fisher said one key piece of advice is to get a line in the water. 

“It doesn’t matter what lure you’re using or what time of day it is,” he said. “The only way you’re going to catch a fish is if you have a line in the water. So just go try it.”

Fisher provides all the equipment for classes that last 90 minutes one day a week for the four-week course. He said each course ends with a tournament and a prize for the angler who catches the biggest fish. 

Classes are held at private ponds in and around Gahanna. 

More information and pricing is available at the Go Fish Academy website

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla

More photos

Go Fish Academy students meet April 25 at a private pond in Gahanna for hands-on learning about angling.
Go Fish Academy founder Brad Fisher coaches student Ava Mullins, 11, as she takes the hook out of a fish she had caught April 25.
Brad Fisher, founder of Go Fish Academy, describes spinnerbaits for active fishing April 25.