The Don Ball School of Fishing is currently in its 17th year. In that time, we have graduated almost 2000 young anglers from our program and sent all of them home with a quality fishing rod, a tackle bag stocked with local specific tackle, pliers, our own Fishing Resource manual and a graduation T-shirt.
The program is open to 6th graders in the county middle schools. It is presented in the fall from September until just before Thanksgiving. Classes are held in the school cafeteria and are run by licensed local fishing captains.
As part of the curriculum students attend a seine net pull where they are able to collect samples and learn from the FWC staff biologists who help with the event.
Students also go on an offshore fishing trip out into the Gulf of Mexico where they learn to catch and release fish.
Our classes are based on the concept "Be the Fish." We teach students they have to think like a fish in order to catch fish. Through this approach we integrate environmental protection and methods of resource preservation. Through our Ethical Angler program, we stress effective stewardship of the resource.