Reel Lines - Winter Issue (Feb 2017)

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In This Issue:

The Disorganized Tackle Box

Fishing vest

By: Caleb Harris, Aquatic Training Specialist, Central Texas

Traditionally, the New Year is a time for fresh starts; a time to make New Years resolutions or get a jump start on spring cleaning and organizing. If you’re like me, you have time for one of two things.  Fishing or organizing fishing stuff. I know we’ve all read, the “pros” will tell you that having it all organized will most definitely increase your fishing success. But, I don’t think I’m alone out there as I fumble through a pile of disorganized lure and tangles, look up with disgust at the super organized kayaker next to me and wish I had THAT kinda time! Of course there are a few things we can all do to help organize our stuff, but the first thing you need to decide, is what KIND of organized angler you want to be!

Type 1: The Traditionalist – These anglers go for the large plastic organizer tackle box - with the double fold out plastic divider. You know, the kind that dumps over in the bottom of your kayak within 10 minutes of getting on the water, so they just pile it all back in and pick through the mess. Then, back at the garage they meticulously organize the 2 story high behemoth so it will be organized for the next fishing trip. At least these guys know what they take fishing! 

Type 2: The Milk Crater or Wagoneer – These anglers “get” a milk crate from the side of a nearby convenience store (shame on you!) and spend hours looking up Youtube videos of how to best organize the crate. The crate is then often precariously strapped to the back of a kayak and is so large it creates a wind sail and top weight that affects the kayaks performance on the water, but man it’s organized… till you tip over. The salt water variety of the milk crater is the wagon hauler. These fisherman are super organized too, till the shrimp bait spills in the wagon and they have to take everything out again to clean it. But they do rinse the saltwater off their equipment and that makes it last longer! 

Type 3: The Day Boxers – These anglers have literally 523 different tackle boxes, one for each location and type of fishing. They have a “Lampasas River - white bass” box and a “Fayetteville - bass box,” etc. etc. These anglers all have one common problem. There is ALWAYS something they forgot in another box at home. Because they didn’t buy  line clippers or pliers or SOMETHING for every single box. They always PLAN to get that something out of the coastal wading box and put it in their summer catfish box, but they forget. These guys are pros at going without and improvising!

Type 4: The Vest Wearer – These are typically fly anglers. They attempt to strap everything on their vest just like they saw in their favorite movie. Their vests are super organized, and they probably spend as much time talking to the other fisherman on the river about their vest organization as they spend actually catching fish! Many even combine this type of system with the Day Boxer method!

I’m sure there are a few other types out there, but next time you have a free weekend, you can either decide which type you want to be and get organized, or be like me and go fishing with an unorganized pile of junk that may or may not have the lures or line or anything you actually need… cause you’re just trying to get out on the water and forget about the week.

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How Did I Get Here?

Angler Ed Patch

By: Michael Wade Thomas, TPWD Aquatic Ed. Area Chief and Instructor, Hunter Ed. Instructor, Huntmaster, Boater Ed. Instructor, Master Outdoor Leadership Specialist (camping instructor), Archery (NASP) Instructor and two time TPWD Angler Education Gold Volunteer Award recipient

Throughout middle school and high school I was fascinated with science and the search for the unknown so I decided to be a research scientist. At the age of 17, I studied the ants which had invaded my backyard storage shed/laboratory in order to humanely remove them. My research into ant life styles, habitats and social interactions won the 1970 Greater Houston Science Fair biology award and I was offered a summer student trainee position in a research lab at MD Anderson Cancer Center. I worked at MDACC every summer and holiday break throughout college and graduate school, earned a Master of Science degree and retired in February 2015 after 45 years of service as a research scientist. 

Because I love entertaining, I became the magician known as COBRA, won best stage act in Texas and brought joy to audiences of all ages including volunteer shows for MDACC Kids with Cancer and the Ronald McDonald house. I use entertainment to teach a variety of subjects to youth and adults. 

My love of fishing led me to join the Rusty Hook Fishing club, win fisherman-of the-year seven times and become a certified weighmaster. In November 2016, I caught, identified and registered a Whiting fish (~15 inches, ~1 pound) – a possible Texas state record. 

At the age of 62, I earned my Black Belt from Kim Soo Karate School based on the Natural Way Philosophy: Seek perfection of character, Live the way of truth, Endeavor, Be faithful, Respect others, Refrain from violent behavior. I pass on these morality and stewardship concepts by volunteering to train young karate students weekly. 

My motto is “Get over it” and my credo is “See, Do, Teach, Repeat!" What I have become is due to my association with and mentoring by thirteen men during my lifetime starting with my father and ending with my son. One of those thirteen men, Mr. Greg Akins introduced me to an organization which shared my values, passions and purpose. I joined TPWD to help with the mission: “to attract and retain the best, brightest and most talented workforce to manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.” During my three year association with TPWD, I have accumulated more than 600 angler education volunteer hours and more than 200 hunter/boater/camping education volunteer hours. I love the outdoors. I have helped train more than 50 new TPWD instructors. I am a Texas Parks & Wildlife volunteer! I believe that training all generations to be stewards of the land is essential and I encourage everyone to volunteer for this cause because “Life IS better outside!”

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Looking for a GREAT idea?

Trout Recipe

We find so many GREAT ideas as we attend events and workshops. We thought we would share them with you.

Fort Parker State Park has an annual “Trout Clinic.” They have four 2-hour sessions where they teach some of the basic fishing skills: fish ID, knots, casting and then loan families rods and reels to fish. Many of our wonderful parks do this at their fishing events. The Mexia Bass Club is also on site volunteering to help untangle, re-bait as well as hook fish and hand their own rod to a youngster to reel in. We know how excited those kids are who get to catch fish! Thanks to many sponsors, the friends group and Bass Club also give each youth a brand new rod and reel combo to take home and use on another day. But at FPSP they also have one man who spends all day cleaning trout, packing them in our “Catch a Smile” bags and sending the families home with five recipes to try. What a great idea!

At The State Fair of Texas, as people were waiting in line to try their luck at the fish tank, staff and volunteers helped youngsters learn to tie knots, identify fish, as well as assemble a leader of tackle: hook, sinker and bobber. They tied a loop at the end and put it in a bag for them to carry home and transfer to their own fishing rod. What a great idea!

Have your own “Great Idea” from an event or class? Share your ideas and photos with us on our Texas Angler Educators Facebook page or email us and we will post them for you.

Facebook page

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New Instructors and Accomplishments

Welcome to our new instructors! We are delighted to have you join our team!

Thanks to all of our volunteers we had a great year and reached over 64,000 people. This year, twenty-six Top Lures received a new award pin for reporting 100 or more volunteer hours. Thank you all for sharing your passion of fishing and for "Supporting the Sport! 

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