Master Angler Matthew Gaines Shares His Passion For Fishing With His Students
CEDAR HILL, TX – Jadon Sheomangal will always remember the sense of accomplishment he felt the first time he caught a fish.
The Collegiate Academy Sixth Grader was in Matthew Gaines’ Fifth Grade Class at Lake Ridge Elementary School when the class visited a fishing pond near the campus.
“It was cool, and I really enjoyed it,” Sheomangal said. “It felt like a good way to spend time with Mr. Gaines, he shared his personal experiences with us and gave us pointers and tips.”
Jadon’s mother, Roseann Sheomangal, said her son loves fishing so much now that he has created a love of fishing among his family members.
Gaines, a Fifth Grade Science & Social Studies Teacher at Lake Ridge, sparked an interest in fishing for Sheomangal and dozens of other Lake Ridge Scholars over the past five years.
On the weekends, Gaines competes in fishing tournaments, south and east of the Dallas area.
Last October, he won $10,000 in a fishing tournament in Corsicana.
He has a YouTube Channel, titled “MrGBass Fishing” where he shares his fishing adventures:
Fishing + Science Equals Fun Learning
During the week, the Italy, Texas resident instructs fifth grade scholars in Science, often incorporating fishing into his lessons.
“I incorporate fishing into all of the science topics,” Gaines said. “It’s a natural transition. If it’s physical science, we locate the fish. We examine the fishing lures for relative density. The kids are fascinated with it. I’m applying something real to what’s inside the book. I tell them on the first day of school that at the end of the year, I’m going to take them fishing.”
Gaines has a Fishing Club on the campus, but he’s been unable to follow through on the promise of taking his kids fishing at the end of the year. The COVID-19 Situation and subsequent school closure has prevented the class from going to the pond this spring.
Still, earlier in the year, current Lake Ridge fifth grade scholars, including Shelbie Williams, have learned a great deal about fishing through the Fishing Club. The club has grown 20 percent since last year.
“I had been fishing when I was younger, but Mr. Gaines taught me a lot of new stuff I didn’t know,” Williams said. “There are ways to hold the fishing pole a certain way and how to tie the strings.”
Growing up in the Chicago area, Gaines enjoyed fishing when it was warm enough to visit nearby lakes. When he relocated to Texas in 2012, he met his wife, who comes from a family with a great deal of fishing experience.
“Besides teaching, fishing is all I really do,” Gaines said.
Lake Ridge Principal Marquita McCullum said it is really special how Gaines can take his interest in fishing and interest scholars – not only in science, but fishing as well.
“Fishing is a practical skill, and Mr. Gaines fishes for pleasure and for competitive sport,” McCullum said. “Whether it is integrating fishing concepts with Science or putting it into action with the Fishing Club, Mr. Gaines makes it happen. Seeing the joy and hearing scholars talk about how they have come to love fishing proves that this has been an amazing skill and club to offer at Lake Ridge.”
Gaines decided to become an educator after being impacted by teachers in his home state of Illinois. “When the kids know a teacher really cares about something, they know it, and they listen more,” Gaines said.