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Dunavant Fishing Classic Casts for Future Conservationists

Hunt Master Chris Murley assists a young angler with casting techniques.

This weekend, the Dunavant Fishing Classic gave nearly 40 kids, along with their parents, the chance to try their hand at fishing in a professionally managed lake.

The event is organized by Tennessee Wildlife Federation in partnership with Memphis philanthropist and fishing enthusiast Bill Dunavant. Dunavant opened his private lake for the event that is managed by renowned angler Bill Dance, who also attended the event and gave participating youth a few expert pointers.

“Fishing is a great way to get kids and their parents involved in the outdoors because it is easy to pick up and enjoy,” said J.W. Worthen, director of programs at Tennessee Wildlife Federation. “It’s something an entire family can do together for an afternoon in a nearby park or stream without the larger commitments of time and money that other activities require.”

Kids were taught fishing fundamentals as well as the importance of fishing to conservation, how to identify fish, and how to catch and release for healthy habitats. During just a few hours of fishing, more than 75 fish were caught. Smaller fish were cleaned onsite for participants to take home, along with a signature Tennessee Wildlife Federation recipe.

Eight awards were given to a boy and girl in four categories.

Largest Fish

Evan Dunphy caught a 3 pound 10 ounce largemouth bass. Gabby Worthen caught a 2 pound 11 ounce largemouth bass.

Most Fish

George Sentilles reeled in 17 fish during the day and Teagan Timberlake reeled in 14.

Smallest Fish

Joel Henry and Katherine Brooks caught the smallest fish of the day.

Stick Fish

The much coveted Stick Fish awards went to Will Snider and Grace Franklin for snagging something that wasn’t quite a fish.

“Through events like these we hope to inspire families to get outside more and to see the role sportsmen and women must play to keep our wildlife and habitats healthy,” said J.W.

Anglers and hunters are the main source of funding wildlife conservation in Tennessee and are leading advocates for policies that promote good stewardship of our natural resources. Fostering young sportsmen and women is vital to securing the future of Tennessee’s wildlife.

Tennessee Wildlife Federation Fish Recipe


  •    8 (5–6 ounce) catfish, bream, crappie, or bass fillets (boneless and skinless fillet)
  •    Sea salt
  •    Cracked black pepper
  •    Crab boil seasoning (Old Bay Seasoning recommended)
  •    4 cups of all-purpose flour
  •    1 cup cornmeal
  •    Peanut oil for frying


  1.    Heat peanut oil in fryer or a deep pot (filled just below half full) to 350 degrees
  2.    Sprinkle both sides of each fillet with crab boil seasoning
  3.    In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cracked black pepper and cornmeal
  4.    Dredge the fillet in the flour mixture and gently place in fryer
  5.    Deep fry approximately 7–8 minutes
  6.    Drain on paper towels


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