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One-day coastal fishing seminars are flat-out worth it.

By Larry Bozka

The two-column ad was nestled inside the classified section of a popular business magazine.

“One-day seminar. Maximize Yield with Minimal Investment! Meet Industry Experts! Everything You Need for Success, All Under one Roof!”

I almost called Bobby Miller and Art Morris to tell them I had found the perfect promotional copy for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Flat-Out Fishing Seminars.

TPWD’s annual saltwater fishing clinics are both one-day events. At $20 per person ($30 for couples, with youths 17 and under admitted at no charge), they are surprisingly affordable.

Plus, the payback is substantial.

Attendees receive a “goodie bag” upon arrival, and throughout the day can interact with some of the coastal fishing industry’s leading authorities while enjoying random drawings for door prizes. Furthermore, they leave knowing that their registration monies will benefit an extremely worthy cause: the annual crab trap cleanup.

The Upper Coast event, the first of two seminars, is slated for Saturday, February 24, at the Lake Jackson Civic Center. Following the success of last year’s “near-shore” seminar, Miller and crew are literally taking the ’07 event a bit farther out.

“We’re focusing on blue-water fishing,” he says, “not billfish, like marlin and sailfish, but the more popular and available species such as king mackerel, ling (cobia) and amberjack. Speakers will discuss everything from boating safety to countering motion sickness to correctly rigging for and approaching the various sportfish. Given good offshore conditions, anglers who own modest-sized boats in the 20- to 25-foot class can catch all of them.”

The second seminar will be held Saturday, January 27, at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

“We’re covering a broad spectrum,” Morris explains, “from the life histories of various sportfish species to flats and surf fishing to blue-water fishing in the Gulf. A department representative will also be on hand to explain upcoming plans for the TPWD Artificial Reefs Program.”

Flat-Out Fishing is sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, the Coastal Conservation Association, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation and a group of fishing gear and accessory manufacturers. The Lower Coast event is also sponsored by the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program.

For more information on topics and speakers, or to register for the Upper Coast seminar, contact Miller at 281-534-0110. Send e-mail inquiries to <bobby.miller@tpwd.state.tx.us>. For Lower Coast event specifics, call Morris at 361-825-3356 or send an e-mail to <art.morris@tpwd.state.tx.us>.

The Corpus Christi seminar is limited to the first 100 registrants. The Lake Jackson event can accommodate up to 300. Given last year’s crowds, early registration is advised.

As for “Maximizing Yield,” anyone who pays attention at these “All Under one Roof” events can’t help but catch more fish.

That’s a flat-out fact.

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