Even the drizzly rain during the afternoon outdoor sessions didn't dampen the excitement and enthusiasm of the event.
The day-long program, which was held at the J. Bryan Floyd Community Center in conjunction with the North Myrtle Beach Parks and Recreation Department, featured five sessions each hour from 9:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M. and offered everything from information on basic navigation and safety to offshore fishing for tuna, dolphin and wahoo.
Sandwiched in between were a break for lunch catered by the Long Bay Artificial Reef Association (www.lbara.com ) and drawings for lots of door prizes provided by Sea Striker, Star Rods, Calcutta Products, Bass Pro Shops, Santee Rod Holders, Betts Tackle Ltd, Maps Unique and a host of other sponsors.
The school incorporated fifteen different instructors in the general fields of Fresh Water Fishing, Inshore Saltwater Fishing, Ocean Saltwater Fishing, General Information, and Outside Stuff, with six specific topics being offered in each general field. While several topics were repeated, twenty-seven different topics were offered. There was indeed something for everyone.
One of the highlights of the day was Capt. Andy Fisher's session on knots. This session was a hands-on affair with participants learning how to tie a line to an eye, how to join two lines together, and how to make a loop.
Just prior to the last session of the day, the crowd gathered together one last time to see who would be drawn as a finalist for the Grand Door Prize of an 18-foot Sea Pro Skiff, with a 50 HP Mercury Four-Stroke Outboard, on a Road King Trailer. The boat, motor and trailer package will be awarded to one of the participants in the series of three fishing schools hosted this spring by North and South Carolina Sportsman Magazines. Finalists will be drawn at each of the two remaining schools and then one of those finalists will become the proud new owner.
The schedule and sessions for the upcoming fishing schools will be much the same as for this one, with just a few changes made to highlight several types of fishing more prominent in North Carolina. A cross-section of the topics to be offered includes sessions on catching trout, flounder, king mackerel, dolphin, bass, stripers, and cobia, plus sessions on knots, marine electronics, basic safety and navigation and reading and understanding charts.
There will be multiple sessions each hour, with participants selecting their preferred topic. Some of the more popular sessions, such as for catching flounder and speckled trout, will be offered multiple times.
The remaining North Carolina Sportsman and South Carolina Sportsman Magazines 2006 Fishing Schools will be at the Hunt Community Center in Holly Springs, N.C. on March 11 and at South Central High School in Greenville on March 18. Registration for these events remains open and can be done by calling 1-800-538-4355 or visiting either www.northcarolinasportsman.com or www.southcarolinasportsman.com .