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May 15, 2006
Texas B.A.S.S. Federation Teams With TPWD To Promote Youth Fishing
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Parks and Wildlife Department angler education experts have teamed-up with the state’s bass fishing experts to create what Trey Scott calls the perfect system for teaching youngsters to fish.
"The partnership is just a perfect marriage," Scott, Texas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation state youth director, said. "I see no end to the exposure for kids – the proper, well-rounded exposure."
A memorandum of understanding signed by representatives from both organizations acknowledges a shared goal of increasing youth participation in fishing and aquatic stewardship activities.
"The B.A.S.S. Federation Nation members are going to be working more closely with us to teach kids about not only fishing but about aquatic stewardship, about how to take care of the resource," said Ann Miller, TPWD aquatic education coordinator. "We have a program they can use, and we can use their volunteers."
"B.A.S.S. is composed of three units. The one everyone knows about is the angling component, and of course that’s our main thrust," Scott said. "But we’re realizing that without conservation and education, the stool does not stand. For years and years we’ve been making those efforts, but have not really made them known."
One program the Texas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation clubs will be promoting again this year is called "Casting Kids." Regional competitions testing youngsters’ pitching, flipping and casting skills will lead to a state championship event.
Upcoming Casting Kids events include a competition on May 20 in Fort Worth at the Will Rogers Memorial Center at 3401 West Lancaster Ave. According to Scott, there will be two events held that day with two separate award ceremonies.
The first will be held from 10 a.m. until noon. The second will be held from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. Awards will be given immediately after each session. The contest is open to the public with no entry fees, and is the first level of a competition that features prizes worth more than $200,000.
Texas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation also is sponsoring a Future Anglers Sportsman’s Tournament – an incentive program that will award cash prizes to individual B.A.S.S. clubs around the state. Clubs can earn points by sponsoring Jr. Bassmaster tournaments, hosting Casting Kid’s events, and participating in angler education programs.
TPWD volunteer angler education instructors taught approximately 10,000 new anglers how to fish last year. The program is funded, in part, by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Sportfish Restoration Act.
Officials from both TPWD and Texas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation said they see huge potential in the new partnership.
"We’re still in the less-than-20 category because we’re just starting out," said TPWD’s Miller. "But there’s a lot of interest in it, and I think we’re going to see a lot of B.A.S.S. Federation members taking the instructor course. We’ve already had some step up and say they’re willing to train instructors."
"I am so looking forward to this partnership," Scott added. "I’m just proud to be a part of it."
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