Creating a High School Fishing Program
2012 FLW High School Fishing National Championship winners. (Photo by Gary Mortenson; courtesy FLW)
The Florida Black Bass Management Plan is focused on the future. Not only is the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commisison (FWC) striving to ensure quality habitat that produces and sustains healthy black bass populations including world renowned trophy largemouth bass, but it also is looking to the future of recreational fishing.
Through strengthening our partnership with Forest L. Wood Outdoors (FLW) and the Bass Federation (TBF), the FWC has been instrumental in laying the groundwork to incorporate bass fishing clubs into the Florida High School Athletic Association’s package of sanctioned sports. FLW and TBF offer a national program for high schools that is established in 48 states and is a sanctioned sport in Illinois and Kentucky.
The FLW and TBF High School Fishing program includes a curriculum, insurance and a proven fundraiser. It also utilizes the cooperation of both organizations’ extensive membership bases to get student anglers on the water. The curriculum includes angler ethics, boating safety, fishing techniques and access to the most comprehensive online fishing education program available.
Membership in the program’s Student Angler Federation (SAF) costs just $25 per student and includes insurance for school clubs, their schools and volunteers who facilitate the participation and protections of students. This is a major benefit for schools and students as it minimizes the concerns of school clubs participating in off-campus activities during fishing practice and events. Additional membership benefits include:
The SAF fundraising program utilizes sunglasses provided at cost for high school clubs and teams to sell for $20. This 100-percent markup easily funds club activities. Polarized sunglasses are available in numerous colors and can even be tailored to school colors with school logos to encourage student body and community participation.
TBF and FLW members work with high school clubs to help with curriculum instruction and on-the-water practical experience. The members also help provide and operate boats for high school anglers during high school club tournaments and interscholastic competitions. For more information about High School Fishing, visit http://www.highschoolfishing.org/.
The FWC has reached out to the Florida Department of Education about this outstanding way to engage kids in a healthy, lifetime sport that gets them outdoors, active and connected to nature. These lead to a happier, healthier and more productive lifestyle, not only when they are in school but as a groundwork for their future and that of recreational angling.
For fisheries information, contact Dale Jones at 352-494-4049 or Dale.Jones@MyFWC.com.