Anglers start with an education

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By The Staff

 Catch and release is a good rule of thumb while fishing. Entice and educate is an even better rule of thumb for young anglers.

At least that is the approach being taken by the Outreach and Education Section of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This past week, Jennifer Saranzak, an Environmental Specialist with the Division of Marine Fisheries Management of the FWC, spent the afternoon educating and instructing young anglers on the finer points of fishing for beginners. Her pupils: Levy County Cub Scouts Pack #514 out of Chiefland. Their enticement: a hunger to learn - and it didn’t hurt that each participant received a free rod and reel and tackle box upon completion of the course, donated through Fish Florida. “It’s a wonderful program,” said Donn Keels, the Cubs’ council chair. “It teaches kids how to properly fish and within the law.” The program was held at FWC’s Senator George Kirkpatrick Marine Lab located in Cedar Key. The program is sponsored by the Sports Fish Restoration Grant. The goal of this outreach is to encourage youth to go outside and fish,” said Saranzak. “We teach them to be ethical anglers - proper catch and release. The emphasis is on conservation through recreational fishing.” The Cub Scouts learned to identify a variety of native fish, how to tie a clinch knot, how to dehook and how to cast. At the conclusion of the course, the eager anglers were given a rod and reel along with a tackle box before heading to the No. 4 Bridge Fishing Pier to put to practice what they had learned.