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Fishing mentorship program creates friendships, love of sport

Date: 5/29/2015

WESTFIELD – A new national campaign, Take Me Fishing, is a perfect complement to the state’s Fisheries & Wildlife’s Angler Education Program’s new initiative – to encourage mentoring a new angler about the abundant waterways and fishing opportunities in our communities.

For John Pavelcsyk of Agawam, giving back to others through his love of fishing was an ideal way to mentor young people.

“My first mentor was my dad,” said Pavelcsyk during a recent interview with Reminder Publications at the Hampton Ponds State Park. “I thank him for the passion I have for fishing.”

Pavelcsyk noted the countless special memories created with his dad and now wants to pass on his knowledge of fishing to others, including Thomas Rezzani of Springfield, a sophomore at Granby Junior and Senior High School.

“John is a good teacher,” said Rezzani, adding that their initial meetings were “formal” but now years later, he thinks of Pavelcsyk as a friend.

“He helped me in the beginning tying knots and unhooking fish until he knew I could do it myself,” said Rezzani.

Rezzani credits his mom Kristen for leading him on some interesting paths including the angler education program.

“My mom has been an advocate for me to get involved in several sports,” he said.

For both anglers, as years pass and now Rezzani is active in several school sports, time is limited to get together for an afternoon of fishing.

“I love being outdoors and experiencing what life was like before electronics,” said Rezzani, adding that he knows one day he too will become a mentor to pass on his knowledge of a sport.

“I know in the future I will be a mentor because it is important to pay it forward,” said Rezzani.

Mass Wildlife will sponsor a free fishing weekend, June 6 and 7, in any public freshwater lake, pond, reservoir, river or stream statewide. While individuals can fish for free this weekend, all other times an individual 15 years of age or older needs a fishing license.

“A fishing license is a wonderful investment in your state, as the fees support fisheries research, fish stocking programs, angler education programs and many other services provided by Mass Wildlife,” said Jim Lagacy, Mass Wildlife’s angler education program coordinator.

 Lagacy added that youths ages 15 to 17 will not be charged for a fishing license, however, they still need to obtain one.

Program instructors are also sought for fishing clinics and family fishing events and persons interested in donating their time can contact Lagacy for more details at 508-389-6309 or via e-mail to

For more information on all of the fishing education programs available regionally, visit For more information on the Take Me Fishing initiative, visit, sponsored by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Association.