THE FISHING SCHOOLS
with Will Kirkpatrick
A fishing, learning vacation on “Big Sam”
I began our Fishing Schools at Stephen F. Austin State University’s Pineywoods Conservation Center located on
Texas’s own Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Our text and class is continually updated to reflect the newest equipment,
products and techniques. Additionally, we cover existing methods and patterns that have, over the years,
consistently produced bass for anglers. Cost of all schools includes lodging, meals, classroom material and
Although The Fishing Schools are held on Sam
Rayburn Reservoir, the knowledge and expertise acquired is applicable to all other bodies of water when in the
pursuit of Bass or other gamefish in both fresh and saltwater.
This year’s first class is my special two-day hands-on Maps and Electronics. The hands on sonar portion will
utilize Lowrance Electronics’ new updated HDS color sonar units e/w GPS (Global Positioning System)
and Structure Scan. In addition we
have developed an “Extensive” 35 MM slide and laptop - power point program of real life situations anglers will
encounter using today’s sonar equipment while fishing. One day is spent detailing topographical and
hydrographical maps and correlating their relationship to fishing success while outlining bass movement.
My second Class is geared towards those anglers searching for more and better ways to fool today’s
wily bass. In this five day class we cover everything involved in bass fishing from rods, reels,
lures, equipment selection, seasonal habits, building of patterns, catch/release standards, boat
rigging and maintenance, etc. Approximately 20 hours is spent in classroom instruction with the
remainder of your time spent applying newly acquired methods and techniques while fishing Sam
Rayburn Reservoir. Anglers must bring their own boats and equipment to this class for use
during time spent fishing. We do have some additional tackle available to use during this
Our third class of the year is our week long fishing program geared towards understanding and catching “Big
Bass”. I’ve purposely scheduled this class during Rayburn’s pre-spawn - spawn period which historically kicks off
“Lunker Bass Season” here in East Texas. Gary Van Gelder, an ardent bass angler from Houston, Texas did a
temperature study several years ago using data accumulated by our U.S. Weather Bureau over a ninety year
period, starting in the early nineteen hundreds. His study showed ideal conditions for our annual major
largemouth bass spawn to begin the first or second week in April. This school entails fishing approximately nine hours each day. During the evening classroom periods we build a special “Big Bass” pattern
formula including pre-spawn habits, required equipment, migration routes, holding cover, preferred lures,
“catching times”, etc. Anglers must bring their own boats and equipment to this class. This year’s class
will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Our Big Bass program this year will include speakers who will
cover different subjects of interest to today’s anglers.
Our Tournament package is geared towards anglers fishing the annual McDonald’s Tournament held on Rayburn each
year. We provide extensive information on Catch & Release application during this session.
The Piney Woods Conservation Center which I lease to hold The Fishing Schools have increased their
facility user fees in 2013 for the second straight year now totaling 25 percent. In addition they are
requiring for the first time that I provide liability insurance covering each class, again at my cost.
I have increased our school tuition less than 6 percent since 2003 but absorbing these additional costs
is no longer possible, therefore I’’m being forced to increase the individual class tuition's or
discontinue the programs entirely. Unlike TPWD, SFASU and other government bodies, private businesses
can’t just add on additional cost. It’s either cut costs, reduce quality (which I won’t do) or close
shop, especially in today’s economic climate. In order to recoup some of the monies already spent for my
2013 Houston Boat Show booth, printing and other expenses, I’ve increased fees by 4 percent for this,
possibly our last year of these schools.
The last 20 plus years I’ve held these classes has been very enjoyable with Vicki and I meeting almost
1200 great anglers but I can’t continue using personal funds to support these programs. A real personal
advantage I’ve received during the previous classes has been all the tips individual anglers passed on
plus the information gained while we used my pattern boards data. THANKS and Good Fishing!
2013 Class Schedule
Map & Electronics Class
March 1 - 3
Friday evening through Sunday afternoon
Minimum of 8 - Maximum of 21
Advanced Fishing Class
March 17 - 22 $550 Tuition
Sunday afternoon through Friday afternoon
Minimum of 6 - Maximum of 10
Big Bass Special
March 24 - 29 $405 Tuition
Sunday evening through Friday afternoon
Minimum of 8 - Maximum of 24
Big Bass Tournament Package
April 18 - 21 $200 Total
Lodging, meals, boat hookups and
Big Bass patterning seminars with Will Kirkpatrick
Students talk about
The Fishing School Classes
"The perfect mixture of pleasure and training"
-- Red Rochelle, Houston, Texas
"I did not realize how little I knew about bass
fishing until after attending the Fishing School."
-- Rodney Bingham, Houston, Texas
"There is so much information out there - it takes
someone like Will Kirkpatrick to put it all together for us. I loved it."
--Kate Truhan, Houston, Texas
"Well worth the cost. I'll be back."
John O'Brien, Albuquerque, New Mexico
All classes are on a first come, first served basis and
require a 50% deposit 30 days prior to class date with prices based on double occupancy.
For further information or for class date availability, call me at (409-584-3177), or if you prefer, you can
write me at 21815 FM 705, Broaddus, Texas 75929
School sponsors include: Arbogast,
Booyah, Cordell, Heddon, Rebel, Silver Thread, Smithwick, Xcalibur, Yum,
www.lurenet.com, Lowrance Electronics, www.lowrance.com, G. Loomis
Rods, www.gloomis.com, and the Triton Boat line, 1-888-887-4866. "Built to last a lifetime with a complete
absence of wood."
Will has been the author of The Houston Chronicle’s
Freshwater blog (http://blog.chron.com/freshwater) since its
inception in February 2007, plus a field reporter for KILT Outdoors radio show (Houston).
Will Kirkpatrick is an
active member of the Texas Outdoor Writer’s Association.
He was chosen by Texas' Governor Rick
Perry as one of his three appointees to the State's Recreational Boating Safety Panel in 2009.
Before resigning after 8 years he was one
of twelve statewide anglers who were members of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department's Freshwater
Fishery Advisory Board
For more information on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, my Fishing Report, my Guide Service, or The Fishing Schools,
please use these links or give me a call before 8:00 pm at 409-584-3177.
To enroll in my Fishing Class sessions, please fill out the following application, after checking by phone
(409-584-3177) for availability and mailing your application with the required deposit.
The Fishing Schools
Name of Class ________________________on (date) ____________________________
Name of Person(s)
Phone: Home ( )________________________
Work ( )_____________________
Tuition price based on dbl. occupancy
Complete and mail this form to
The Fishing Schools
21815 FM 705
Broaddus, Texas 75929
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