Will Hehemann | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
PINE BLUFF, Ark. – The Aquaculture/Fisheries Center of Excellence at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) has partnered with the West Side Community Hub (WSCH) in Helena, Ark. to form a fishing club for young anglers in Phillips County.
UAPB Aquaculture/Fisheries Extension specialists will host after-school sessions, workshops and fishing derbies during the program’s infancy. They will also provide training to volunteer members of the WSCH, who will assume all educational responsibilities of the club after the initial year.
“This new program is designed to not only teach youth how to fish, but also to introduce them to careers related to aquatic resource management, as well as institutions such as UAPB that can prepare them for those careers,” Scott Jones, small impoundment Extension specialist at UAPB, said.
Jones said that the club aims to recruit students between the ages of 8 and 18, and hopes to accommodate up to 50 members. The club will have access to equipment and a fishing trailer owned by UAPB.
“If this program is successful, we would like to expand our educational workshops to include in-field demonstrations of natural resource management,” he said. “Our field is one that can’t be fully appreciated in a classroom; it’s best to get the kids outside and let them see and touch the things we are teaching them about.”
Jones, who is preparing the curriculum for the club, will host workshops with local teachers to prepare them to deliver the basic biology, ecology, safety and regulatory information during the after-school educational sessions.
“A club can be as simple or as complicated as the organizers want it to be,” he said. “Most fishing clubs are simply made up of like-minded anglers who get together and go fishing on the weekends, participate in habitat enhancement or restoration projects or hold small low-cost fishing tournaments to add some excitement to their time on the water.”
The program, officially known as the Chester L. Guydon Young Anglers Program, was named in honor of Chester Guydon, an avid angler and the former band director for the Helena-West Helena School District.
For more information on the club, contact William C. Gant, president of the WSCH at 870-753-4132, or Mae Versey, the club’s publicist, at 870-714-0392.
For information on the UAPB Aquaculture/Fisheries Center of Excellence, contact Jones at 870-575-8185 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.