The Fort Frances Youth Fishing Team would like to be a successful program within the next few months.
But they’ll need some help from the community if they are to accomplish that goal.
Organizer Jason Cain held an information session Monday night in the Fort High cafeteria for students in Grades 7-12 and their parents, along with volunteers, where he laid out a plan for the program.
The club will strive to educate students on many aspects of the sportfishing world, get them involved within the community, and also get them outdoors competing against peers and other high school students.
When students compete in club events, they will be matched with another student and an adult boat captain.
“To have kids in the boat, we need boat captains,” noted Cain.
“Boat captains are essential,” he stressed. “It’s two students [per] one boat captain in order to be able to compete.”
The boat captain will drive the boat at all times, but students will operate trolling motors and electronics during the actual fishing process.
As well, the boat captain will act like a coach for the two student anglers.
This arrangement allows for safe operation of the boat and will give students adult supervision.
Cain said he has a preliminary list of those who have shown interest in being a boat captain, notably Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson, but the more volunteers, the better it will be.
The program will teach students many aspects of fishing that will include, but not be limited to, the building of rods and lures, when and why different techniques and lures are used, differences in water bodies, seasonal adjustments required for fishing success, how to read weather, boat safety, and learning from both local and regional angling experts.
The team also will pursue multi-species angling, but will focus primarily on bass angling as most of the events it will participate in will target that species.
When open-water season hits, the plan for the program is to get students out to compete in a club event of the organizers’ own making, as well as one or two other events before the end of the school year.
They even may find an event to fish in early summer.
Organizers also are looking into some events taking place across the border in Minnesota, as high school sportfishing is a huge and rapidly-growing concept in the U.S.
The Fort Frances youth fishing team will be an affiliate of the TBF Student Angler Federation.
As a member of that organization, the club will have very comprehensive insurance coverage.
Each club has $1 million per occurrence (unlimited) in third-party general liability coverage, provided by Marsh Canada Ltd.
This covers the club, its officers, members, and any volunteers for actions on behalf of the club relating to an official club event.
It also provides $1 million in child abuse allegations coverage, $25,000 in excess medical coverage, and $25,000 in emergency child recovery/alert coverage.
When teams are on the water, the boat captain’s boat owner insurance is the first line of coverage, as they are in control at that moment.
The program’s rules state boat owners must have watercraft liability coverage.
A cost of $75 per student angler will be charged in order to sign up for the team, allowing the program to pay the required insurance for each individual, as well as prizes, trophies, etc.
“This program is going to be a work in progress, and I’m sure we’ll run into some bumps along the way,” Cain conceded.
If you have any questions about the program, or are interested in helping out, contact Cain via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 275-6954.
For more information on high school sportfishing, visit www.highschoolfishing.org