Catching an inside look at a passion for fishing


Provided by Derek Handberry

Derek Handberry’s big catch at the beach.

Giselle Morales, Staff Writer

DHS teachers Derek Handberry and Tom Porcelli are great enthusiasts for fishing. Fishing has been a part of their lives from a very young age, and they have continued to enjoy it ever since. 

“I have a baby picture where my dad was holding a fish in front of me,” Handberry said. “I always loved to go fishing, I would beg him to take me. Sometimes he wouldn’t want to bring me and I would have to beg him.”

On the other hand, Porcelli started fishing around his high school years, but has had great passion for the hobby as well.  He described his first time fishing as “absolutely wonderful” and claimed that things seem to make sense while fishing. While teaching can become very stressful at times, both Handberry and Porcelli appreciate the time they spend fishing to relax and set their minds on a different focus other than school. 

“It helps me clear my mind,” Handberry said. “It’s almost like meditation but it’s also like your relaxing, but then all of a sudden you have a 200 pound shark on and you get that excitement too, so it’s a nice balance. Through that whole process I’m not thinking about wether or not a student owes me homework, and I’m not thinking about whether or not a student needs to turn in their assignment. I’m just living in the moment, so its nice, especially during the pandemic it’s nice to have that break there.”

Fishing can definitely be a relaxing hobby, but like Handberry described, you can come to face the unexpected and experience a lot of thrill in a matter of seconds. While excitement and adrenaline are a fun part of fishing, the pure activity of being in nature is another key factor in this hobby.       

“The best part of it is you get to go outside,” Porcelli said. “You get to be outside for a whole morning or a whole afternoon, so what’s better than hanging outside and some air and catching fish.”

Provided by Tom Porcelli

Not only do both of these teachers share the same passion for fishing, but they enjoy having company very much, and have participated in fishing tournaments together. 

“Mr. Handberry and I, 3 years ago, we were fishing tournaments pretty seriously and we took first place against lots of other guys,” Porcelli said. “The last tournament that we went in was between really us and another pair of guys. The other guys looked at us and said ‘we’ve been wanting to win this for the past 15 years’ and it was our first or second year doing it and then we came in and we won, it was great.”

Porcelli and Handberry are a great example of the fact that in this hobby experience does not always guarantee you success. Though there is always room for improvement, as Handberry started off using a bobber and live bait, but throughout time he advanced into things that required more technique. 

“I know more now than I did, but no matter how experienced you are sometimes you go out and you don’t catch as many fish,” Porcelli said. “Some days are good and some days are bad. I know more so I think my chances are better everyday.”

The hunt for different species of fish is an enjoyment to both of these teachers as Handberry has caught species like sharks, stingrays, snakeheads, and sturgeons. Even though there is much thrill in catching exotic species and large fish, it’s the pure activity of fishing that actually brings enjoyment. Porcelli claims that some of his best days are not dictated by the size of the fish he catches, but it’s all about the chance of getting to be outside and catching fish. 

To both Handberry and Porcelli fishing is more than just a hobby, it’s a passion. The time they dedicate to this passion is their moment of happiness where they get to enjoy themselves, have fun, and live in the moment.  When both Handberry and Porcelli go fishing, it is clear that they are after more than just catching fish.