The Goal is Sharing
Sharing your fishing skills can be fun for a day and rewarding for a lifetime.
By John Brady
Recently, I had the pleasure of assisting Jim Bird, Environmental Education Specialist of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission at Codorus State Park in one of the several S.M.A.R.T angler classes held by the Park each year
The event was held in the Multi Media Center at the park and was attended by approximately 10 youths. The class, sponsored through the KARE program of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, was open to youths between the ages of 8 to 15 with prior registration.
During the class, Mr. Bird taught his attentive class the S.M.A.R.T. steps for good angling which included safety rules, proper manners, and being aware of their surroundings while fishing; and the importance of catch and release and sharing their knowledge of S.M.A.R.T. fishing with others.
Along with another local angler Jerry Warren, I had the opportunity to share my knowledge and fishing skills. We demonstrated proper casting techniques, the importance of using the correct knots and how to tie them, demonstrated the different types of rods and reels and discussed the assorted functions of various types of artificial bait and tackle.
Following the classroom session we took all the participants down to the lake for an afternoon of fishing where Stephanie Phee age 9 caught a rock bass and established the first recorded rock bass on the Parks' largest fish species data base.
I was very impressed with the attentiveness of the class who ask a multitude of questions during the classroom session and while fishing, attesting to their interest in the sport as well as their thirst for knowledge.
I personally spent a lot of time with Heather Seymore, who had never fished before and was very excited about her first fishing excursion. The time I spent with Heather teaching her how to cast and coaching her on the patience of fishing was well rewarded when she caught her first fish. She had a smile on her face I will remember for a lifetime.
A good friend and angler Jerry Warren, who is no stranger in Pennsylvania to sharing his fishing skills with young and old alike for almost 10 years, gave additional instructions and demonstrations.
I also encourage every fishing club and organization to sponsor or hold at least one youth fishing event each year. This will ensure our fishing heritage will continue with the generations that follow.
Holding an event for kids is easier than it may sound. Most clubs and anglers know of the Kasting Kids program held in association with B.A.S.S. Another program available to clubs is the Berkley "Pathways to Fishing" program. The program packet comes with instructions, brochures, posters, and just about any thing needed to run a first class youth event. Information on this program can be obtained by writing directly to Berkley at One Berkley Drive Sprit Lake IA 51360. Address to the attention of PTF Brochure. However even if you put together your own event from scratch, it's not that time consuming. Have a little time for demonstrations, and allow most of the time for fishing. It's best to do it at a location that the kids can catch some kind of fish, even if it is only sunfish.
Don't let another summer pass you by without getting involved. You'll be glad you did.
I'd like to thank my sponsors Storm Lures, and TruTurn Hooks for their support and products for this event. The support of great sponsors like these with product and information is what makes these events that much more successful.
Those of you in south central Pennsylvania that are familiar with my newspaper column know I always sign off my fishing tips by reminding everyone that "They call it fishing, But the goal is catching". In this particular case, I think it's appropriate to sign off saying "They call it fishing, but the goal is Sharing".
Editor's note: Another excellent program to get involved with is the C.A.S.T. for Kids program which teams volunteers with disabled and disadvantaged children for a fun filled day of fishing on the water. For more information, visit their website at www.castforkids.org.