By Heather Regula, Correspondent
Belton Parks and Recreation partnered with Texas Parks and Wildlife to offer a free Angler Education class, at the Harris Center on Thursday, June 21. The five-hour workshop was available to individuals, ages 18 or older, who are interested in teaching fishing skills in their community. Completion of the class resulted in participants becoming certified Angler Education Instructors.
“Texas Parks and Wildlife reached out to us, and we were happy to partner with them to offer this educational event,” stated Matt Bates, Director of Parks and Recreation. “It’s free to the public and a neat idea for people to do. We have a long history of collaborating with Texas Parks and Wildlife, and offering this course is a natural fit. I’m taking the course today, and I’m excited to learn some new things!”
Texas Parks and Wildlife Aquatic Education Training Specialist for Central Texas, Adam Comer, spoke animatedly about the first fish he ever caught, a goggle-eye fish on the Buffalo River in Arkansas, and encouraged class participants to share their fishing stories, and experience with each other.
“I’ve enjoyed fishing all of my life, and I’m happy to have joined the Parks and Wildlife team as one of four instructors in the state of Texas. One of the goals of this course is to provide you with tools to help you teach others about fishing,” explained Comer.
Fishing experience among the Angler Education Class participants varied considerably – from little or no exposure to a lifetime of experience.
“I’m a catch and release, strictly bass sports fisherman now. I’m attending this class today to educate myself, and so that I can better teach my son, about fishing,” remarked David Hite. “I’m here today to stretch myself and to learn new things about something that I love to do.”
Attendees practiced tying an Improved Clinch Knot, also known as the fisherman’s knot, and the Palomar Knot, using cord and an eyebolt. Students participated in a brief overview of basic tackle, discussed the pros and cons of natural and live bait and lures versus artificial ones, and reviewed fishing safety, among other things. The wealth of fishing experience in the room naturally lent itself to an environment where students learned as much from each other, as they did from the instructor.
More information about Angler Education and other programs presented by Texas Parks and Wildlife can be found online at https://tpwd.texas.gov/education/.