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Put down the video game, pick up a rod

By RODNEY PAGE, Times Staff Writer
Published September 18, 2005

The International Game Fish Association, headquartered in Dania Beach, has long been an advocate of sport fishing and conservation. Established in 1939, the IGFA keeps sportfishing records, hosts seminars and promotes responsible and ethical angling.

Recently, the IGFA has tapped into promoting junior angling. Targeting 16-year-olds and younger, the IGFA has created programs such as field trips, spring and summer camps, fishing tournaments and fishing clinics.

One of those fishing clinics is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Oct. 1 at Tampa's Al Lopez Park. The free event is for novice or advanced anglers 16 and under accompanied by an adult.

Junior anglers will learn knot-tying, take part in a casting demonstration, learn ethical angling such as how to measure a fish and how to properly release one, and what equipment is used. There also will be a touch tank of sea grasses, mangroves and coral reefs.

A free Junior Angler Club membership along with a free rod, reel and tackle box will be awarded upon completion of all four clinic stations.

IGFA staff, along with members of the Chevrolet Florida Fishing Report on Sun Sports Network, will run the clinic.

"Kids clinics are a great outlet for families to bond and share time together in the enjoyment of the outdoors," Tim Hudgens, southeast region marketing manager for Chevrolet, said in a statement. "So many parents we talk with are trying to pull their kids away from the seclusions of their computers, electronic games or cell phones.

"The clinics are free, so we hope that these events will be a way to introduce families to fishing and the great outdoors."

The IGFA doesn't stop at clinics. On its Web site, an entire section is devoted to youth fishing. There is a tournament schedule, an educational class schedule, a junior angler world-record section and a list of upcoming events.

There is also an International Junior Angler magazine published four times a year. The magazine has educational articles on species, pictures of fish caught by junior anglers, a family project, quick facts about fish around the world, a knot-tying section and word games.

The IGFA has made it easy for parents and children to get involved in the outdoors.

[Last modified September 18, 2005, 02:15:36]


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