Memphis-Area kids get opportunity to go fishing with legendary a - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis-Area kids get opportunity to go fishing with legendary angler Bill Dance

(SOURCE: submitted) (SOURCE: submitted)
(SOURCE; submitted) (SOURCE; submitted)

Twenty-seven kids from the Memphis area and West Tennessee had the opportunity of a lifetime when they got to spend the day with fishing legend Bill Dance on one of his favorite private bass lakes.

It was the first time the Tennessee Wildlife Federations put on the Dunavant Classic. The fishing rodeo designed to get kids involved in sport fishing is expected to become a yearly event. The kids, who were all athletes from the Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target program and Tennessee National Guard families, were randomly chosen to come to Bill Dunvant’s Memphis farm to learn how to catch big bass from Dance.

“It was a fun day, but also an educational one,” Tennessee Wildlife Federation CEO Mike Butler said. “The kids learned about different fish species, how to bait a hook, how to handle fish safely, the importance of lake conservation, and even how to clean fish to take home to eat. We caught over 200 fish, so even with the poor weather it was a huge success all around.”

It was a busy day on the lake, as every one of the kids caught at least one fish. Jacob Russell, 16, from Jackson, caught 24 fish, and Miranda Deberry, 9, also from Jackson, caught 26. The majority of the fish weighed in under three pounds, but some of the participants were able to haul in four and five-pound bass.

Russell said it was an honor for him and his brother Jonah to learn from a man they have looked up to.

“I’ve watched every Bill Dance video ever made," Russell said. “Jonah and I have always said that it would be amazing if we could meet him, so we’re pretty excited. We’ll be talking about this for a long time.”

Tennessee Wildlife Federation is one of the state’s oldest and largest conservation non-profits, and is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

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