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Beach projects hit the island Volleyball team recruits new players Professors share marriage stories

Monday, February 23, 2015


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Monday, February 23, 2015

On the Cover (Photo by Ryan Arnst): A solitary surfer enjoys the pristine beach along Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach. See story, page 3.

Spring 2015 The Beacon is a monthly student publication. DUANE MEEKS Dean of the School of Communication and Media MICHAEL RAY SMITH Adviser HANNAH DEADMAN Executive Editor CELESTE BROWN News Editor DAVID WILLIAMS Features Editor JEREMIAH SATER Sports Editor RYAN ARNST Photo Editor AMANDA HIGGINS Graphic Design Director JAMES HALL Web Editor Staff Peter Amirata Nancy Arteaga Taylor Branham Aaron Broghamer Cameron Codner Angel Conlon Tiffany Danin Ashley Destler April Evans Jordan Flug Katie Forsythe Jamie Givens Greg Halmos Jasmine McCranely Keisha Oakley Jenna Skinner Dana Stancavage Jackie Streng Becca Stripe Ryan Teason Victoria Vartan READMYBEACON.COM Questions? Comments? The Executive Editor may be reached at

Family Church hosts tour, features IMB president David Platt and musician Matt Papa By Celeste Brown News Editor

International Mission Board president David Platt and musician Matt Papa led an event at First Baptist Church on Feb. 11 in partnership with the North American Mission Board. NAMB’s goal is to support missionaries in the United States and the goal of the IMB is to support missionaries across the globe. Matt Papa led worship through music and incorporated one of his singles called “It is Finished.” Platt’s sermon covered multiple chapters in the book of Acts with a main focus on chapter 7, involving the stoning of Stephen. “[God will use] ordinary people with extraordinary power, preaching, giving, praying and suffering [to make His name great among the nations],” said Platt. Opening his sermon, Platt read from Acts 2 about the time of the Pentecost, explaining that the situation there was similar to today-ordinary people called by God to go on mission. “The same Holy Spirit in Acts 2 is living in you right where you are,” Platt said. “Do not for a second underestimate what His Spirit can do in your life.” With a trembling voice, he repeated this phrase throughout the night, explaining what he has seen God do in his time of ministry in places like Nepal, where he is no longer welcome because of his position in the IMB. Platt emphasized the importance of prayer in the process of sharing the gospel. “It is not supplemental, but fundamental,” he said. Throughout his sermon he referenced the early church in its desire to spread the gospel. Just as these people relied on God and used His provision for His


Photo by Ryan Arnst

David Platt, author and president of the International Mission Board, spoke at the SNA EXP Tour to PBA students and community members.

glory, we must do the same, he said. As Platt spoke, his speech quickened and a smile spread across his face. “Saul inadvertently starts the church that eventually sends him out,” he said. “Ha! It’s unbelievable.” The event encouraged people to go abroad to unreached people groups and areas where the gospel has yet to make its presence known, Platt said. By the end of his sermon, Platt

practically jumped with excitement, saying he anticipated what God would do through those who attended. Platt and Papa have traveled across the country to more than 20 locations since last September, as part of the SNA EXP Tour. The purpose is to encourage followers of Jesus in their pursuit to expand God’s kingdom. “Your life on mission matters,” is the event slogan. The SNA EXP tour will conclude in April and a national SEND North America

Conference will follow in Nashville, Tenn. in August. He challenged the audience with a question: “What is it going to take for unreached people groups to be intolerable to us?” For more information about the conference, visit

Dr. Ben Carson spoke on education, the economy and conservative values before a crowd of nearly 250 at The Colony Hotel on Palm Beach last Monday. The Palm Beach Republican Club hosted the event, which featured a book signing, lecture and reception.

“My preference was a nice peaceful retirement,” Carson said. “But my whole professional life has been dedicated to the welfare of children. When I look at their future at the rate we’re going, there’s no way I can sit back and relax.” – Dr. Ben Carson Ambassador Eric Javitz, left, and his wife Margaretha Espersson share a laugh with Dr. Ben Carson, who revealed Monday that he will launch an exploratory committee for a possible 2016 run for the White House.


Monday, February 23, 2015

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Beach renourishment project pumps sand on the island By Katie Forsythe Staff Writer

Visitors who pass by the beach on the island of Palm Beach will notice an unfamiliar element to the coastline. Bulldozers and backhoes fill the once tranquil scene of Palm Beach. A coastline development project is what has brought the equipment to the beach. The bulldozers on the familiar part of Flagpole Beach are a smaller part of the entire beach renourishment program, which is also transporting sand south to Phipps Ocean Park. According to the town’s coastal coordinator Robert Weber, this process will ensure the sand at Phipps Ocean Park is furnished with similar silt properties to what is already present. The extensive part of the renourishment program will include sand brought from Singer Island pumped through an underwater pipeline and dispersed onto Flagpole Beach. According to Weber, this project is expected to start in mid-March, and cause sections of the beach to temporarily close. The $17.6 million project, which began in January, will span more than 12 miles, starting at the Lake Worth Inlet and ending just past the south end of town and will be implemented in small sections at a time. Palm Beach Atlantic University student Laura Humphrey said the beach environment is not an

Photo by Ryan Arnst

Pipes that line the beach in the Town of Palm Beach carry sand dredged just offshore Singer Island. The ongoing project has been a source of controversey among some island residents because of the sand’s darker color.

enjoyable experience. “But I understand that it is something that will ultimately be beneficial,” she said. Beach projects are done nearly every six years. The first beach renourishment project in Palm Beach occurred in 1995. “It is a necessary evil,” said PBA biology professor Angela Witmer. “It would be great to let

nature have its way with erosion, but we are dealing with people – with beach lovers and tax payers.” Weber said environmental protection is a top priority. The only time renourishment is allowed is between November and March so as to not affect sea turtles during their nesting season. “Each year we have done the program, we have improved it to

Photo by Ryan Arnst

Bulldozers place sand on Midtown Beach just north of The Breakers. Renourishment began in January and will continue through the spring.

reduce the density of sand placement so it has less impact on the coral reefs,” Weber said. He added that the maximum amount of silt allowed during renourishment has been reduced from five percent in 2006 to two percent for the current project. “Silt is a super fine sand that doesn’t fall out of suspension easily, so it has a tendency to get caught in coral reefs, which we aim to maintain and protect,” Weber said. Witmer said that although the procedure disrupts people and organisms, many species have developed a resistance to the disturbances caused by beach renourishment and can easily recover. Although many people may see the process as unnecessarily disruptive, it is actually one of the most effective and efficient methods of beach renourishment, Witmer said. Beach closures will happen during sand dispersion, which will only affect about 500 feet of beach at a time. Weber said that no beach should ever be closed for more than a week at a time. Once the sand is placed and distributed, beaches will reopen as the project moves down the coast. He assures beach lovers that the project will not drastically alter their coveted beach time. “Even when the beaches are closed, an open beach will always be within walking distance of the one that is being developed,” Weber said. He said the goal is to improve recreational value, provide

habitat for protected sea turtles and protect coastal property from storm damage. Though island residents have had concerns about the color of the sand because it looked darker and appeared unattractive, the sand will become lighter and mix in with the current sand over time, said Weber. The beach’s drop-offs and unusually narrow beach have been caused by weather conditions that have continued since December, not because of the renourishment program, he said. “People will definitely recognize when the project is taking place,” Weber said. “We cannot make the sand at a universal level, but there will be a definite change in the drop offs which will be remedied.” “Beach goers may see a change in the shoreline over the first year following the project and believe it to be a form of unhealthy beach erosion, but it is expected to be that way after renourishment,” Weber said. “Usually about 30 percent of the sand originally placed will subside after about a year, and that is a natural process that we plan on occurring during the process of renourishment .” The Flagpole Beach section will be just over one mile long, 200 feet wide and is expected to be finished in early April.


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Monday, February 23, 2015

Married professors share life stories Whether meeting on the high school newspaper or at PBA, these married professors have stories of their own. Want to learn about how they met? Read on.

Dr. Tom and Donna Fowler By Taylor Branham Staff Writer When Tom Fowler came to PBA to find a teaching opportunity, he eventually discovered the missing variable that made his life complete in Donna Fowler. Both the Fowlers teaching in the mathematics department. To some individuals, working and living with a spouse may not be the easiest thing, but the Fowlers have come to find that it is not always the case. Q: How did you meet? Donna: We met here at PBA when Tom came to Florida for his interview. I was on the selection committee to find a math professor. When we have someone come in for an interview, we typically start with a breakfast in the morning. It was that morning during the interview when I first met him. Q: Would you say it was that cheesy line of “Love at first sight?” Tom: I was interested. I don’t know about love at first sight, but I was interested because I saw

someone attractive and a Christian. My radar was definitely going off. Q: How did you keep in contact with each other after the interview? Donna: He had actually called me once during the summer about some textbooks, and we got a chance to talk then. Tom: I needed to find out about the textbooks anyway. It was a pretty good excuse to call her. Q: Was it ever hinted to one another that maybe some interest developed? Donna: It was actually right before the spring semester started when I saw him and met up with him while bringing stuff into his office. It was then when he made it a point to try to get to know me and talk with me. I do wonder if we got a little help from the math department. One of the ladies in the math department had mentioned one year that his birthday was coming up in February, so we could have a birthday celebration. It made me wonder if it was a point in getting us together. Tom: I got her to give me a tour of the campus.

Dr. Tom and Donna Fowler then (left) and now.

Donna: It was not unusual for me to do because I usually gave new people tours of the campus. He also came in with a limp due to a knee injury, so we were able to walk slowly around campus together.

your spouse is working with you, you always have someone to sit with at faculty meetings, at meals or whatever the case may be. No matter what, she’s always here, and I am able to find her. It’s nice being on campus.

Q: Do you have a favorite moment together on campus as a couple? Tom: It’s the little stuff. When

Q: When did you two get married? Tom: I believe it has been around eight and a half years

Photo by Taylor Branham

now; we got married in 2006. Q: What’s it like to have your spouse constantly around? Tom: For us, it’s been real good and natural. It’s always been that way. There’s no pressure to see each other, but it’s nice to always have someone there. It’s a blessing.

Dr. Kathleen Anderson and David Athey By Angel Conlon Staff Writer Students in the English Department are familiar with professor David Athey and Dr. Kathleen Anderson, but those who haven’t been able to take a class with them can take the time to get to know this couple that share a passion for literature, writing and pop culture. Athey teaches the creative writing and composition classes, while Anderson teaches Victorian Literature, Women and Literature, Humanities, Composition and Honors. Q: How did you meet? David: We met in St. Cloud, Minn. in a mystical time known as the 80s, in front of a painting at an art show. I later tracked down the artist and bought that painting “Spring Dance,” for our 5th anniversary. Q: How long have you been married? Kathleen: We’ll be married for 24 years this June.

Q: Dr. Anderson, why did you decide to keep your last name? Kathleen: I’ve always been Kathleen Anderson. We did consider changing both of our names to something funky, but chickened out. What do you think of David and Kathleen Earth? Q: What is it like working in the same department as your spouse? David: It is “Borbe-ific.” Kathleen: It’s nice knowing the same cast of colorful characters and the same dramatic plots, but we also sometimes choose not to talk about work. Fortunately, we have diverse interests. At first, I was concerned that people might see us as a “block vote” or unable to be authentic individual professionals, but I think we’ve proven ourselves. Q: What is one of your favorite memories at PBA as a couple? David: Not eating at the caf together. Not eating at the caf is very romantic. Kathleen: I love it when former students come back to visit us.

Dr. Kathleen Anderson and David Athey then (left) and now.

It’s fulfilling to hear about their successes and to know we had a small part in guiding them; to realize that they still see us as interested in and supportive of them. Q: What has been the best conversation you’ve had in regards to your field of study? Kathleen: We talk about books, ideas and the writing we’re

working on while reading and critiquing some of each other’s projects. I can trust that his input will be honest, insightful and something I didn’t see. I also enjoy Professor Athey’s spontaneous satires on a wide variety of subjects, particularly on ideological trends in popular culture. It seems unfair that I am usually the only one who gets to witness these brilliant parodies.

Photo by Angel Conlon

David: Conversation? No, it’s just Jane Austen movies every night. Q: What advice would you give to couples who work together? Kathleen: Limit your “shop talk,” respect each other’s right to different perspectives and benefit from each other’s strengths.


Monday, February 23, 2015

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Drs. Nathan and Kathy Maxwell By Becca Stripe Staff Writer

Not many married couples can say they met in high school and continued their education together for their bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. Dr. Nathan and Kathy Maxwell, biblical studies professors in the School of Ministry, say they had a great experience attending school and working together for several years. Kathy started teaching in January 2009, and Nathan started in August 2013. The Maxwells said they enjoy working together at PBA and are excited for the arrival of their first child this summer. Q: How did you two meet? Nathan: I really enjoyed writing and had been in the high school newspaper since my sophomore year. There was an opening for a copy editor, and I actually asked the teacher to find me my future bride. We were just kidding around. We had a really fun teacher. So, she got Kathy. We were from pretty different corners of the high school universe, so it was almost comical then. Kathy: I was more academically-minded, and I loved to read, study and try to get A’s. Nathan was a varsity soccer player and a snowboarder.

Q: When did you start dating? Nathan: It was in college over the Christmas break of Kathy’s sophomore year. Kathy was going to school in Texas, and I was going to school in Alaska. Kathy: We would talk on the phone sometimes, but we weren’t dating. Nathan: Kathy would also write the longest letters. Kathy: Sometimes he’d have to pay postage to get the letters out of the post office, because they’d be so long that the stamp wouldn’t be enough. Nathan: I started going to Kathy’s church while we she was away at college, and I became a Christian. Then she came home for Christmas her sophomore year, and we started dating a little after that. Q: When did you get married? Kathy: We got married in 1997, while were both still in college. Q: After you both completed your bachelor’s, what happened next? Nathan: We stayed at Hardin Simmons University in Texas and got our masters degrees. After that, we went to Baylor University to do our (doctorate degrees). We finished in 2007. Q: How did you come to PBA? Kathy: We were looking for a place where we could teach full

time and a job opening opened up at the PBA School of Ministry. We actually went to Baylor University with Dr. Nathan Lane, so when that job opened up he called us and recommended that we apply. Nathan: There was one opening. It was a hard decision for us. Kathy applied for the position, and then I worked for a little over four years over in the online learning office. I did web development course design in the online learning office and then taught as an adjunct until a spot opened a couple of years ago. Q: What is it like to work with your spouse? Kathy: We’ve been in school together since we were 16 years old, so in part, we have kind of been doing this forever, working and teaching together in the same place. Nathan: There are a lot of practical advantages. But in other ways, we also share in one another’s vocational experience. So, when something’s going on, or there’s a big thing that Kathy’s working on, such as developing a new course, I understand what that experience is like. There’s some blessing in that – that you can understand your spouse and know what they’re going through. That’s a lot of fun, and it’s pretty rewarding.

Drs. Nathan and Kathy Maxwell then (top) and now.

Photo by Ryan Arnst

Dr. Fred and Sara Browning I was flirting, but I really just thought he needed help.

By Dana Stancavage Staff Writer Can chemistry bring people together just like molecular bonds? Fred and Sara Browning, professors in the School of Arts and Sciences, have been happily married for 20 years. The Brownings have four children and are nothing short of busy. “Arts and Sciences school meetings are our dates,” Sara says. Though the only downside of working together is juggling busy schedules, the Brownings share their advice on how to succeed. Fred teaches physics, and Sara teaches biology. Q: How did you first meet? Are there any funny stories from when you met? Sara: We met in a chemistry class our freshman year in college in 1991. Fred asked me what my name was after every class, so I decided to help him out and write it in his notes. He thought

Q: What has been the best part of your marriage? Do you have any favorite moments as a couple at PBA? Sara: We haven’t had much time together on campus except at some special events when we can bring our kids, like the Great American Bug Race or Walk for Life. Fred got his hair cut to donate to Locks-of-Love, our kids remember this event as a party for daddy’s hair cut; they also enjoyed the bounce houses and dunk tank, where the kids were able to dunk their dad. Q: What is it like to work together? Sara: We are the best support for each other to accomplish our goals. I can send Fred to the store with a list of lab supplies to get, and I can proofread his exams. We support one another and utilize each other’s strengths. Q: What is a good conversation you’ve had in your field of study? Sara: Fred is always sending me

Dr. Fred and Sara Browning then (left) and now.

articles about biology on Facebook. Some of the latest articles are about breastfeeding, nutrition and health and surprising discov-

eries in biology like the genetics of sea slugs. He usually points out that everything is physics. We are basically in the same discipline;

Photo courtesy of the Brownings

we discuss lab and teaching ideas together.

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Sports Features

Monday, February 23, 2015

No rest in offseason for the volleyball team Spring semester gives freshmen a chance to prove themselves By Jeremiah Sater Sports Editor

Spring season for Palm Beach Atlantic University’s volleyball team is a time for recruiting and a chance for players to prove themselves. According to NCAA Division II rules, practice time is limited. “There’s more time spent on individual tasks, instead of team practices,” said sophomore Katie Ballantyne. The team is allowed six hours a week to train with the strength and conditioning coach, according to head coach Bob White. “They go in every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6,” White said. “That takes a certain amount of dedication.” The team started strength and conditioning workouts the first week of the semester. Ballantyne said she doesn’t mind the short break. “We’re working on getting stronger and (gaining) endurance,” she said. “Some games I felt we got a little tired toward the fifth set.” With rules set by NCAA, coaches cannot check up on the players’ summer workouts, according to White. Ballantyne said the summer workouts are easier, because she has her sister and teammate Emma with her. “When my family and I went on summer vacation to the Keys,

we got a membership to a local gym, because we couldn’t miss workouts,” she said. PBA requires players to have at least a 3.5 GPA to play, which White said is a requirement not many other schools have. “If they are dedicated in their academics, that same discipline is going to transfer to the summertime,” he said. “It gives me less worries.” White said in addition to time spent on strength and conditioning, the team is allowed two hours a week to practice with the coaches, according to NCAA rules. Beginning March 3, the team begins a mini season within a 45-day period with extended the practice time to 20 hours. The mini season includes three weekend tournaments. “Our goal in the spring is to give all the girls that didn’t get a chance (for) equal playing time with the girls who did get a chance to play,” White said. He said the recruits that come to PBA know the only real playing time they could receive is in the spring. Ballantyne said the backup setter Alex Marszalek has done well to prepare replacing graduating senior Becca Acevedo. White said the team would move to a two-setter rotation with junior Marszalek and freshman Amy Schatzmann during the spring, unlike the fall’s onesetter rotation with Acevedo. Over Presidents’ Day weekend, White recruited players for next fall in the Baltimore-Wash-

Photo by Jeremiah Sater

The Palm Beach Atlantic University’s volleyball team started the 2014 season with 20 straight wins before finishing 30-4.

ington metropolitan area. Three recruits will come this fall, who committed to PBA during their junior year of high school. “You have to be successful to do that,” White said. “Very few teams have that luxury, and it’s just something we’ve been blessed with.” He added that they are selective in how they recruit with a requirement that he has to watch the players live before considering them. “The reason I have to see them

play live is I want to see how they do when things are going really good and things are going really bad,” he said. However, the players do not meet the new recruits until the preseason. “It’s hard to kind of transition,” Ballantyne said. “Right when we start preseason, we meet them.” But this aspect didn’t present a problem during last fall season, according to Ballantyne. “We thought it was going to be hard for us all to all come together as a team so quickly,” she

said. “After the first game, I felt like we came together as a team.” The team finished the season 30-4 before losing to the University of Tampa in the NCAA South Regional Final. The season included a 20-0 start before the team’s first loss. “It was our best season ever,” White said. “We knew we had a good team going into last year.”

Coaches share their talents with the community Tennis doubles mixers held throughout February By Keisha Oakley Staff Writer

Palm Beach Atlantic University’s tennis coaches are sharing their knowledge with the community throughout February. The coaches are hosting tennis doubles mixers Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 to 9 p.m. The mixers are free for PBA students and faculty, while the cost is $5 for everyone else. Chi Ly, head coach of the tennis teams, said he welcomes anyone willing to learn. “It’s an opportunity for anyone interested in playing tennis to come out and have fun on the court together,” he said. He coaches the mixers with

the help of his assistant coaches. Zsofia Kranczicki, a graduate assistant, said she enjoys teaching students. “I give private lessons for anyone who is interested in the opportunity to come out,” she said. The tennis courts opened for the first time this year at the Rinker Athletic Campus. “The purpose is to get everyone on the court, because the court is not only for the tennis team,” Ly said. Tammy Padlock, the parent of a PBA alum, said she enjoyed the mixers. “It’s fun,” she said. “The instruction is interesting and I get to meet other players.” The purpose behind the mixers is to bring the PBA community together, Ly said. “It’s a great recreational activity for when you’re done with the day,” said Francine Jackson, a participant. She said she was able to meet

Photo by Ryan Arnst

Head coach Chi Ly, right, instructs participants at the mixer. “It’s an opportunity for anyone interested in playing tennis to come out and have fun on the court together,” he said.

new people and make new friends. “It is just great to be around people that are also interested in learning to play tennis like I am,”

Jackson said. The men and women’s tennis teams play on Feb. 24 at the RAC. No mixers will be held that evening.

The last date to attend the doubles mixers is this Thursday.


Monday, February 23, 2015

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Softball team begins new season on new field Team looks to improve upon regional finish last year By Victoria Vartan Staff Writer Palm Beach Atlantic University’s softball team took to the field for the first time at the Rinker Athletic Campus’ new Simpson Field during their home opener Saturday. The team finished the home season 13-6 in 2014, playing their home games on neutral ground instead of on home turf. “In years past, we would have to travel about a half hour away just to have practice,” said student assistant Sarah Gosciniak. “But now that we have our own field, it is nice to have a place to call home and not have to worry about a long commute each day.” She added that in years past, the fan base was mainly parents, but with their new home field so close to campus, they hope to have more student attendance at the games. “We have the upper-hand knowing how our field is—the sights, sounds and feel of it all,” said pitcher Amber Johnson. She added that the available field and equipment makes it more convenient to practice. “It gives us a sense of pride,” Johnson said. “We love our new athletic complex and respect it.

It contributes to team pride in the Sailfish brand.” The team lost five seniors because of graduation, including the shortstop captain Jen Hunter. “We lost a couple key players that helped us both offensively and defensively,” said head coach Kimmy Bloemers. “However, I believe the new players are filling those spots.” Gosciniak said she thinks home field plays an important factor when it comes to game days. “We have a true ownership of Simpson Field and no one can take that from us,” Johnson said. “It’s our house, no one is allowed to come in and take the game from us. We will win.” She added that the goal for the team this year is to advance to the NCAA regional tournament and play as one team and one family. Johnson said the team has bonded in preparation for this season on and off the field through Christmas parties, community service and laser tag. She added that this season the team is prepared to do whatever it takes to win. “If we are called to go in and play an unfamiliar position, we step up and do it,” Johnson said.

Photo courtesy of PBA Athletics

“It gives us a sense of pride,” said pitcher Amber Johnson about the Rinker Athletic Campus. “We love our new athletic complex and respect it.”

“We have conditioned, practiced and mentally prepared for this season since September and can’t wait to see what the season unfolds.” Bloemers said the team puts in countless hours to prepare for games.

“At the end of our season, we want to accomplish big things and ultimately make it to the postseason this year,” Gosciniak said. The team lost in the NCAA regional tournament last season. “Our motto this year is

‘Greater,’” Johnson said. “We are greater because we have God on our side. We are greater when we play as a team and play for each other. This team will be greater.”

Finding bass in the Sunshine State An angler’s advice from the backyard canal to the big blue Editor’s note: Ryan Arnst is an avid fisherman who enjoys sharing his expertise with fishing enthusiasts.

By Ryan Arnst Photo Editor Commentary South Florida is often referred to as a premiere sports fishing destination. From open-ocean trophy fish like sailfish and blue marlin to fat largemouth bass in the back of a neighborhood canal, West Palm Beach offers just about everything for anglers of any skill. Saltwater fishing can be more challenging and requires heavier and more expensive tackle, so the best place to start for new fishermen is freshwater. There’s a large variety of freshwater fish that inhabit local inland waters, including largemouth bass, peacock bass, Mayan cichlids and channel catfish. Largemouth bass grow large and fight modeately, making them the preferred freshwater sport fish of most anglers. They can be found in almost every body of water here in West

Palm Beach as long as it is not fed directly with salt water. The closest body of water to Palm Beach Atlantic University like this is in Howard Park on the southeast corner of Okeechobee Boulevard and Parker Avenue. The park is within walking distance of PBA, and the water is easy to access, making it a great beginner’s fishing destination. Bass aren’t particularly picky when it comes to which lures they will or won’t bite, but they certainly have preferences that change with the time of the year and conditions of the water. Two kinds of baits are universal and will catch largemouth: the soft plastic and the Rapala. Rapala is the name of a lure company but has become synonymous among the fishing community as hard plastic baits with treble (three-pronged) hooks. Five-inch soft plastic worms rigged up to a worm hook are great for fishing in shallow, algae- and vegetation-filled canals and ponds, while Rapalas are more suited to open lakes or clean canals with fewer obstacles. Largemouth bass spend most of their time around structures or the shore waiting for a poten-

tial meal to enter the water, so casting near structures, reeds or shoreline will get their attention, provoking them to take the bait. When the fish bites, there’s a short window of time to set the hook before they get a chance to spit it out. Too soon and the lure will be pulled out of their mouth before it can catch, too late and they’ll spit it out. Once the hook is set, all that is left is to reel them in. Largemouth bass don’t have teeth, so there is nothing to cut yourself on. The spines of their dorsal (top) fin are semi-sharp, though not enough to puncture skin. Though not always necessary, pliers are often an essential tool to remove the hook from the fish’s mouth once caught. The state of Florida requires a fishing license for anyone over 18, which can be purchased at any bait and tackle shop. Largemouth bass are plentiful, so the regulations on keeping them are generally light, but each lake or canal may be subject to its own rules on keeping the fish. Catch and release is always the best bet to protect the ecosystem and avoid breaking the law. Photo by Jake Hatfield

Ryan Arnst with a largemouth bass caught in a West Palm Beach canal.

The Beacon 02/23/2014