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More Fishermen Wanted

Take someone fishing.

Understand, the word “fishermen” in the title is meant to include men, women, and children.

Now that I’ve cleared that up, what am I talking about when I say more fishermen are wanted? For starters, it’s no secret that the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has been seeking a license fee increase for some time now, and our state legislatures, at least some of them, are refusing to grant the increase. The PFBC has not had an increase since 2005. On top of that, there has been a 27 percent decrease in license sales since 1990 and a 34 percent increase in expenditures since 2005. You don’t have to be a top math student to figure out that those numbers are contributing to some major financial problems for the PFBC.

Even though an increase in license fees has not come about, the PFBC has been trying to come up with programs that would result in creating new license buying anglers. The commission has even sought the assistance of Southwick Associates, a research firm specializing in outdoor marketing, to help them find answers. It appears that some programs have been more successful than others. For example, about 25 percent of the women who took part in a learn to fly fish program bought a license within 18 months, but only 5 percent of the people who attend family fishing programs buy a license. Granted, people like me and my fishing buddies would buy a license whatever the cost; I’ll get my monies worth out of a license within a week. Obviously, the PFBC is not targeting people like me in their programs. Until a license fee is implemented, however, the commission will have to do what it can to stay viable.

Of course, if more people were fishing instead of less this would reduce the problem.

A few weeks ago, as I stood on the ice at Blanchard Dam trying to entice a bluegill to grab my ice jig, I gazed around the lake and estimated about 100 people were fishing within sight of where I stood. I looked even closer at the group gathered in the vicinity of my location, and then it dawned on me that a number of those fishermen were there because I invited them in previous years to join me and learn how much fun ice fishing could be. My wife, my son, my granddaughter and her new husband, my brother, and a number of other friends were there fishing and having a good time. Some of the people that I introduced to the activity brought some of their friends and relatives along to join in on the fun.

I then remembered my first trip out onto the ice; my family doctor invited me along to Lyman Run Lake when I was still in high school — I loved it and haven’t stopped since.

So, what am I trying to convey with all of this? Well, if it’s something you love to do why not ask others to join in? Be willing to help them, teach them and mentor them.

Don’t misunderstand; I do not get up in the morning and say to myself, “How many people can I get into fishing so the PFBC can alleviate its financial woes?” No, I tell others about it because I love doing it, and I like talking about it, and maybe my enthusiasm is a bit contagious.

I’m sure the PFBC will continue to reach out in whatever ways it can, but it’s also true that each of us dedicated fishermen can spread the joy of fishing around as well.

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