If there is one thing that I can be thankful for my father teaching me it is without a doubt how to fish. I’m sure no one could have foreseen the impact such a simple skill would have had on my life but the fact that I have chosen fishing to be basis of how I make a living emphasizes just how important those early days of rod and reel were.
I realize that the odds of either one of my girls having any sort of profession in the fishing industry is pretty slim but that’s beside the point; kids need fishing in their lives. Which is why my oldest is already well versed in fishing and my youngest will soon follow in her footsteps.
My answer to the question of why we should introduce our kids to fishing would be a simple ‘because’. But we all know ‘because’ isn’t an answer. The truth is, fishing isn’t only the best pastime in the world; it can keep kids grounded, give them something they can be passionate about for the rest of their life and they can learn a thing or two while doing it.
The only guarantee in fishing is that nothing is guaranteed. We do what we can to make sure that our kids are catching fish (believe me, they can lose interest really quick if they’re not) but the fish won’t always co-operate. To fisherman that’s part of the game, but to a kid it could mean giving up completely. With that being said, a bad day on the water isn’t always a bad thing. Extended fishless periods will teach kids the virtue of patience.
Confidence and diligence
The float disappearing under the surface, the thrill of the fight, the photo opp. afterwards; all rewards for patience. Kids will quickly learn that although action may not always be fast and furious the hard work and focus will eventually pay off. Nothing erases a slow day faster than fighting a fish, knowing that their patience and attention to detail is what caught that fish will ultimately lead to more confidence.
If taught properly, kids will quickly gain respect for their environment and everything in it. It’s important that kids learn just how fragile the environment or specific ecosystem can be. Teaching kids to be conservation minded, be it complete catch and release or selective harvest, will benefit all of us.
To catch fish in ever changing conditions we must adapt. By paying attention to minute details kids will quickly learn how to adapt to conditions and figure out what changes need to be made in order to be successful.
Tips for a Great Day on the Water
- Kids are going to ask questions; be prepared. Even if you’ve never fished before yourself, do some research and be ready for whatever they throw at you.
- Don’t cheap out on equipment. Those character themed rod and reel combos are meant to do one thing; attract kids. A decent ultralight combo will do a much better job at handling fish and are way easier to cast.
- Use live bait. A little piece of dew worm will go a long way in making sure the fish are biting.
- Let them have fun. The action won’t always be fast and furious but fishing isn’t just about catching fish, it’s about the entire experience. Let them explore their surroundings; let them chase frogs or skip rocks or just run around and let off some steam.
- Be patient. Kids aren’t going to become anglers overnight and if you don’t have patience neither will they.