An Unforgettable Experience
For over 30 years the blind and visually impaired have looked with eager anticipation to a special experience: the Santee Blind Fishing Event. Now managed by LVS, this memorable weekend is an all-inclusive over-night trip to Lake Marion including hotel accommodations, transportation, 3 meals, fishing supplies, and lake access by shore or boat for registered attendees who are blind or visually impaired and their caregivers.
For participants the Santee Blind Fishing Event is more than a weekend on the lake, it is an exciting change to a sometimes mundane routine and a chance to meet new people or reconnect with friends.
This event is the result of our shared commitment to improving vision health for all South Carolinians and to creating a healthier world where the blind and visually impaired know no limits. The event is open to any blind or visually impaired person (and their caregiver) in South Carolina. LVS is currently only able to provide transportation assistance from the Charleston area to the event.
The 2023 Santee Blind Fishing Event will take place April 21-22, 2023. Client Applications, Volunteer Applications, and Sponsorship Forms are all now available. The 2023 event will be limited to 50 client participants, plus their guest, due to the limited capacity of our venue. We encourage clients to apply early and send in completed forms.
2022 Event Recap
The 30th Santee Blind Fishing Event last weekend was a tremendous success! Nearly 50 blind and visually impaired people from across the state came together and enjoyed a weekend on Lake Marion for the 30th anniversary of this Fishing Tournament. Residents came from Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Clarendon, Sumter, and Richland Counties.
Busses picked up clients from Charleston and Ladson, bringing guests to the Hampton and Fairfield Inn in Santee. Friday night dinner was held at the Santee Cooper Country Club. On Saturday participants traveled to Lake Vue Landing where more than a dozen boats carried guests to fish in Potato Creek. Some guests opted to stay on the docks at Lake Vue Landing and fish from shore.
Chris and Stacey Coker of Lake Vue Landing catered two wonderful meals for guests and sponsored a $25 cash prize for each of the award recipients. The following awards were given:
Most Number of Catches: Terry Sumter (2 shellcrackers, 2 Bluegills, and 3 Redfin Pickerels)
Most Unique Catch: Christian and Glenda Ladson (Yellow Perch)
Biggest Catch 2nd Place: Theresa Chiarito (14″ catfish)
Biggest Catch 1st Place: Lucas Cain (18″ catfish)
VIP Fisher of the Year: Rita Williams
As the overall winner of the Tournament, Lucas Cain is the recipient of a sponsorship from LVS to attend the North Carolina Lions VIP Fishing Tournament in the fall along the Outer Banks.
Costs for this year’s event totaled $25,054.83, and are projected to rise to nearly $33,000 in 2023. Your philanthropic support can help defray the costs of next year’s Tournament. Give online or text “blindfishing” to 44321. It costs roughly $250 to sponsor one blind or visually impaired person’s expenses for the weekend.
Thank you to the sponsors who generously support this special event.
An International Tournament
The North Carolina Lions VIP Fishing Tournament is the largest gathering of visually impaired in North Carolina and is believed to be the largest event of its kind in the world. The project has grown from a local tournament serving 12 blind individuals to more than 350 visually impaired persons, 130 sighted guests, and 300 volunteers.
The project brings participants from across North Carolina and around the globe together for three days of recreation, fellowship, and independent living workshops designed to help visually impaired persons (VIPs). Participants arrive on the Outer Banks on a Monday, are housed in local hotels, have meals, go fishing on two head boats and four ocean fishing piers for a day of recreation, participate in seminars and independent living training, and visit with vendors. The winners of state tournaments around the country participate in an International Tournament on Wednesday. The closing awards banquet on Wednesday offers motivation and awards. More than 300 volunteers follow the same schedule as they assist the VIPs throughout the annual event.
Only 13 individuals ranked to compete in the National Tournament last year. Lucas Cain represented South Carolina and completed with peers from North Carolina, Rhode Island, Virginia, New York, Connecticut, and Canada. Rodney Turner from Gaston County, North Carolina won the National Tournament with 65 points and also won the North Carolina State Tournament this year. The largest fish caught was a 16” Sea Mullet from Jennette’s Pier.
LVS sponsors the winner of the Santee Blind Fishing Event to compete in this International Tournament. Last year LVS staff and 5 Lions Club volunteers from South Carolina volunteered at the event.