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‘Go Fish’ offers instruction for novice fishermen

“I’ve got one!” was followed by disappointment. “Ahhh. It got away.”

The big, “flat as a flounder,” orange fish slid away from the “hook” leading the fisherman to try once again.

A group of first-time or novice fishermen were “fishing” on the grassy slope at Pike County Lake late Friday afternoon and there was more casting than catching, Mary Scott laughed as another one got away.

The group of fishermen/women were participating in “Go Fish, Alabama!” a program of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which is held at public fishing lakes, state parks and local lakes in or near metropolitan areas.

“Fishing 101” offers instruction as basic as learning the difference between the different reels, line, casting methods, tying knots, choosing hook sizes to match bait and to identify different fish.

“I’ve already learned that I shouldn’t tie knots on my hook,” Scott said. “I need to wrap; wrapping is easy and it holds better.”

Scott said she participated in “Go Fish, Alabama” because she enjoys fishing in her leisure time and fried fish on the table a suppertime. Those around her agreed that’s why they, too, decided to “Go Fish!”

Kasie McKee, fish biologist with the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, said “Go Fish!’ not only teaches recreational fishing but also encourages conservation.

McKee said those, who purchase a fishing license, become active participants in conservation before they ever cast a worm in the water.

The purchase of a fishing license, fishing equipment and boat fuel provide funding for conservation efforts across Alabama. They also support ongoing education, research and management of Alabama’s aquatic resources.

The Go Fish! program encourages ethical angling, safety on the water and keeping waterways clean and safe.

To top off the instruction and the fishing for plastic fish, the “Go Fish!” anglers had the opportunity to go fishing and try their new skills. They visit the “Go Fish” trailer and select the fishing gear needed to put their hooks in the waters of Pike County Lake.

The program also covers ways to prepare fish for cooking, including filleting, skinning, gutting and scaling of the catch from their fishing experience   

“Our goal is for the participants to learn to fish and learn the basic principles so they can continue enjoying the sport on their own after the event,” McKee said.