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BSA Fishing Merit Badge

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Fishing Merit Badge Tips for Alabama Boy Scouts

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Following list of requirements contains helpful links for fishing merit badge.  A copy of "Fishing Merit Badge" will also be needed to teach the scouts.  The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries has a book available on-line to help know where and how to fish in Alabama.

Check with the www.scouting.org Website to see the latest requirements.

Fishing Merit Badge Requirements.

  1. Explain to your counselor the injuries that could occur while fishing and the proper treatment, including cuts, scratches, puncture wounds, insect bites, hypothermia, dehydration, and heat reactions. Explain how to remove a hook that has lodged in your arm. Name and explain five safety practices you should always follow while fishing.
  2. Learn and explain the differences between two types of fishing outfits. Point out and identify the parts of several types of rods and reels. Explain how and when each would be used. Review with your counselor how to care for this equipment.
  3. Demonstrate the proper use of two different types of fishing equipment.
  4. Demonstrate how to tie the following knots: clinch, palomar, turle, blood knot (barrel knot), and double surgeon's loop. Explain how each knot is used and when to use it.
  5. Name and identify five basic artificial lures and five natural baits and explain how to fish with them. Explain why bait fish are not released.
  6. Explain the importance of practicing Leave No Trace and how it positively affects fishing resources. Also, discuss the meaning and importance of catch and release. Describe how to properly release a fish safely to the water.
  7. Obtain and review the regulations affecting game fishing where you live. Explain why they were adopted and what you accomplish by following these regulations. 
  8. Explain what good outdoor sportsmanlike behavior is and how it relates to anglers. Tell how the Outdoor Code of the Boy Scouts of America relates to a fishing sports enthusiast, including the aspects of littering, trespassing, courteous behavior, and obeying fishing regulations.
  9. Catch at least one fish. If regulations and health concerns permit, clean and cook a fish you have caught. Otherwise, acquire a fish and cook it.

Additional helpful information:
Places to fish: Alabama State Public Fishing Lakes, Alabama State Parks, regional fishing locations, and private ponds.
Alabama Fishing License requirements and free youth licenses.

Father and son bonding comes easy when fishing.
Fishing is about the fun of fishing, enjoyment of nature, and the building of relationships.

Boy scout consumes fish that he caught, cleaned and cooked.
Fishing merit badge requires the release of one fish.  Another species of fish must be cleaned and cooked, much to the enjoyment of scouts.

Redear sunfish or shellcracker caught by former senior patrol leader.
Bream (sunfish) may be taken with worms, crickets or small lures.  Bream are good fish to cook for fishing merit badge.

Boy scout casting a fly rod.
Part of fishing merit badge is demonstrating casting skills with two of three gear types: fly casting, bait casting, and spin casting.  Fly casting takes practice before using it on the water.

Cory Davis shows off large bass to earn fishing merit badge, while Charles Darr looks to see how much the water level went down in the pond after Cory took his bass out.
Scout Cory Davis shows some of the good fishing available in the private ponds in Alabama, while Charles Darr looks to see if the pond went down when that big bass came out.

Boy scout successfully lands a big bluegill.
A float used to suspend bait is a very successful method.  If you are getting nibbles, but no takers, use a smaller hook

But if no fish I've caught at all
Successful I'll still be
For I've been fishing, had a ball
And for a day been free.

See also Fly Fishing Merit Badge and Fish and Wildlife Management Merit Badge

We would like to post your troop's fishing pictures.  Send jpg files to Doug Darr.  Please include who, when, where, and who to thank (sponsors, leaders, pond owners)!

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