MCWHORTER, W.Va. — West Virginia BASS Federation Nation (WVBFN) volunteers taught 40 Bible school students about fish and fishing, as well as boating and water safety this summer. The McWhorter Methodist Church invited them to help in relating fishing to the Bible.
"The youngsters were very receptive," said Jerod Harman, state conservation director. "The older kids, from 8 or 9 to 14 or 15, really soaked it up."
Eight volunteers conducted the 90-minute event, with assistance from the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, as well as sponsors Cabin Creek Bait Co., Cabela's and Triton Boats.
State Conservation Officer Mike Spangler, also a BASS member, talked about water safety.
"We discussed and demonstrated the types of PFDs, their sizes and their proper fit," he said. "We had one child from each group put one on that was too big and one that fit properly to demonstrate the difference.
"We also discussed the issues of mandatory wear [12 and under] and the fact that if a collision renders you unconscious, you had better hope you had your PFD on prior to impact."
Other sessions covered casting and fish identification.
"We used Zebco spincast equipment to work on simply making a cast for the younger kids, up to casting for accuracy to targets for the more advanced group," said Harman, adding that BASS youth workbooks also were distributed.
The WVBFN has presented three such programs this year, the conservation director said, following a successful all-day event at Sand Hill Elementary School during 2009.
"It was at a small lake with 80 to 100 kids," he explained. "We also did knots, sportsmanship and lure and tackle selection with that one. Right away, they wanted us to come back this year, and we did."
With more people learning about the fishing programs, Harman is considering asking for donations to the Federation Nation's conservation fund in return for the volunteers educating students about fishing.
"It's an investment for the future that they will get a return on," he said.