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Scouting for Fish

A special group of girls discovers the stress relief that is fishing.

By Karen Marks

Troop 1500 is not your typical Girl Scout troop. These girls belong to an innovative program, Enterprising Girl Scouts Beyond Bars, which serves girls whose mothers are imprisoned. They have monthly visits with their mothers at the Gatesville prison, and they hold regular troop meetings and go on field trips that allow them to just be girls and explore various interests.

During a recent field trip at Inks Lake State Park, several of the girls giggled and squealed with delight as they baited their hooks and cast their lines into the water. Participating in TPWD’s Angler Education Program, the 12- to 16-year-old girls learned about fish and their habitat, knot tying, basic tackle assembly, fishing regulations and ethics.

“Many of the girls had been fishing before, but the concept of catch-and-release was new to the girls and they were very excited to share this idea with me,” says Julia Cuba, Troop 1500 leader.

Fishing will definitely be part of their future trips, too. “I noticed that the girls were so relaxed while they were fishing. They really enjoyed just hanging out and talking to each other while they were fishing,” says Cuba.

In an effort to make fishing readily available to everyone, the TPWD Angler Education Program has established free tackle loaner programs at locations across the state. The majority of tackle loaner sites are located in state parks. Borrowers may check out rods and reels and basic tackle to go fishing. Some state parks take the fishing activities one step further by offering Fish with a Ranger programs, Junior Angler and Beginning Fly Fishing classes.

For a list of tackle loaner sites, visit <www.tpwd.state.tx.us/learning/angler_education/tackloan.phtml>.

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