Pinellas News

Group back in Tarpon to promote youth fishing

TARPON SPRINGS - Following last year’s success, the not-for-profit group Anglers For Conservation will be back in Tarpon Springs encouraging the next generation of responsible anglers.
Local youths ages 6 to 16 are invited to Craig Park 9-11 a.m. this Saturday to cast lines into Spring Bayou from the park’s seawall while also being provided free tips on how to properly do so. The event is a Hook Kids on Fishing program called Fish Earth Day.
“There will be some mini-clinics with the kids and parents and then they go fish,” said Scott Smith, a recreation specialist with the Tarpon Springs Recreation Department. “It’s just a really nice event.”
Capt. Rodney Smith, the executive director of Anglers For Conservation, has been operating Hook Kids on Fishing programs for about 15 years with the help of other associates. He said the main goal is getting more youths and their parents outside.
“We just believe if we can get more kids and parents in the outdoors, no matter how we get them out there, that the world will be a better place,” he said.
The program’s title is a reference to the worldwide day of recognition for Earth Day, which is officially on Monday, and the Melbourne-based Anglers For Conservation’s push for responsible fishing.
“We know that people that get in the outdoors and start to appreciate the outdoors, they might also become stewards of the outdoors,” Rodney Smith said.
Rodney Smith and others with Anglers For Conservation will receive assistance directing Saturday’s event from the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, and people with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Those who attend this year’s Fish Earth Day will be able to participate in educational sessions on casting, conservation, fishing safety and catch-and-release tactics. Kids and parents are separated into groups that move from station to station.
In addition to the lessons and morning of fishing, the first 80 kids to preregister will receive a free rod and reel.
For more information on Saturday’s program or to register, call the Tarpon Springs Recreation Division at (727) 942-5628.
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