Students at Youngsville Elementary Middle School are learning more than reading, writing and arithmetic these days.
Brent Long, a professional walleye angler, taught fishing basics on Friday to the children.
"We start out going through safety, on and around the water, then we review open- and closed-faced fishing reels. Once they've learned how to cast, we practice on fish-shaped targets," he said.
Times Observer photos by Rob Andersen
In the photo above, Amanda Rosenburg, a fourth-grade student at Youngsville Elementary School, gets a little instruction from Christena Long as she practices her casting technique. In the photo at right, a minnow bucket earned lots of attention from the students.
"I show them how to tie a couple of knots, the palomar and clinch knots, then I go over different types of set-ups, like bobbers and jigs with a twister tail combo," he said.
"I show them a rod set-up with a crank-bait, and review different types of bait, such as minnows and nightcrawlers."
"We look at different species of fish, how to recognize them and talk about what they eat. We also talk about catch-and-release, and also how it's okay to take some home to eat, and we briefly go over fishing regulations," Long said.
"The last thing I talk about is invasive species, and how it's important not to transfer them from one body of water to another, " he added.
Asked how the kids respond, he said, "They are all over it. They're genuinely excited and attentive."
On Friday, the students were very interested, especially when Long showed them the live bait, and allowed them to handle meal worms.
Long said he gave the children handouts and left informational materials in the school library.
The books and program he uses were developed by the National Professional Anglers Association, and the equipment he uses was paid for by donations from Ed Shults, Northwest Savings Bank and G & R Machine Shop.The bait used for display on Friday was donated by Animalistic Outdoors in Warren.
Long said that he is on the professional staff of Yamaha marine engines, Lund boats and Matzuo fishing lures.
Any schools interested in having Long teach the fishing course may contact him at 688-4383.