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Gone Fishin'

May 17, 2012

I love fishing; it is one of my favorite summer activities. I don’t often get a chance to go, so when I was asked to help at a family fishing day I couldn’t say yes fast enough. With the event still a couple weeks away, I thought it best to begin preparing early. There are a few things I had do before I could actually get out on the water and start fishing.

The first step I took was to renew my annual fishing permit. The resident fishing permit is only $12 and is good all the way through the last day of February of the next year.  There is also a daily fishing permit that residents and nonresidents can purchase for $7 a day. It is a good choice for nonresidents who only plan to be fishing for a few days. The Resident Hunting and Fishing Permit is great for all those avid hunters and anglers and is only $19. You can purchase all these permits over-the-counter at your local permit vendor or online at mdc.mo.gov/epermits.

With my permit in hand, I bought some new tackle and headed home. My next step was to find a place to practice fishing. If I was going to help at a fishing event, I thought that I should start sharpening my own skills. I jumped onto the MDC website and searched for conservation areas that allowed fishing. I found a bunch and decided that I needed to narrow down my search a bit. I searched for ponds and lakes in my county and then found one fairly close to my house that I had not yet visited. I searched for driving directions to the area and printed them out.

I had my permit and my fishing spot, so all I had to do was check on the regulations for the area. I pulled up the area information and checked the regulations information. I also checked to see what species of fish have been stocked in the pond. The area information said that it is only a catch-and-release pond, so I didn’t need to worry about a daily limit. I checked the fishing regulations booklet to make sure there was nothing that I was missing and packed it with me in my tackle box just in case.

I moved down my checklist to make sure I had everything I needed. Green SunfishNow I was ready to go fishing. I set out early in the morning with my pole and some friends. The morning was spent casting and recasting, coming up short every time. I was about to stop for the day when something tugged at my line. I was so excited, I suddenly forgot what I was supposed to do. The fish was trying to get the hook loose and swim away, but I was not about to let that happen. I snapped out of my excited stupor and I pulled at the pole. This was one tough fish! After a long struggle, I finally won! I held up my proud catch for all to see. My sunfish measured 6 inches in length. No, it wasn’t a record-breaking fish, but it was my fish. Nothing delighted me more than releasing the little fella back into the pond. I stayed at the pond a little while longer, relishing my victory.

I will continue trying to hone my fishing skills so that I can help others on the day of the event. Fishing is a great sport for all ages and can be a great teaching tool. So get out with your friends and family and catch some fish!

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