“Kid”ing Around Can Make You Enjoy Your Fishing More!!
I watched with interest as the elderly gentleman and young boy walked down to the end of the fishing pier. Fishing rods were rigged and the grandfather gave encouraging words of instruction to the young lad. A feisty worm dug from granddads garden fished approximately two feet under a red and white bobber was hopefully the bait that would attract the attention of the big ones. With a determined look on his face, the young boy made a cast out toward the edge of the partially submerged tree. The bobber landed with a “splat’, and as the ripples settled the bait sank slowly toward the bottom. All was quite for a moment or two, and then the bobber bounced twice and then disappeared. The Grandfather yelled encouragement as the young boy set the hook and then the fight was on. The rod bent in a dangerous arc as the reel reluctantly gave up line. The fish moved out away from the tree and then headed for deeper water. More line was stripped from the reel and the boy knew that he was definitely in for a fight. It was touch and go for the next minute or so as the young boy fought the fish and the older gentleman continued to offer encouragement. The fish was soon brought to the net, and what a fine bass it was. The solid three pounder was a scrappy fighter and almost too much for the Zebco rod and reel combo. I don’t know for sure who was more proud at the moment, the young boy or the Grandfather. I watch the duo for the better part of an hour as additional fish were caught and quality moments between the two were shared. Memories of this fishing trip will be with these two anglers for the rest of their lives. So when was the last time that you took one of these little freckled faced, peanut butter eating, soda drinking kids fishing. If you had to think about it… it’s been too long. These youngsters somehow go from small tikes to young men and women in a very short period of time. My advise is to make the most of the time you have together and build some fishing memories. It doesn’t take a full stringer or a 10-pound lunker to make the trip a success. All it takes is sharing moments together with Mother Nature. Nothing will make you forget those problems at work more than sharing a day of fishing with your kids. So what should you do to assure that this upcoming fishing trip with your youngster is a success? Well here are a few pointers: (1) Sit down with your “partner” before the trip and talk about things the two of you will do. Set expectations and make sure that your fishing buddy knows that the trip together is what’s important….not necessarily the number of fish caught during the day. (2) Buy a good quality rod and reel for the youngster, don’t make them use cheap “hand me down’s” that probably caused problems the last time they were used. Get a good spincasting reel and couple it with a rod with a handle that fits their little hands. (3) Pack a lunch, but make sure that along with those healthy foods you toss in a few items such as moon pies, a can or two of pudding, and other “special” items that your youngster would really like to have as a snack. (4) Leave your rod and reels at home. Devote your time and effort to the youngster. Let them pick the places to fish, bait the hook, and make their own casts. You just sit back, offer advise, and focus on the needs and excitement of the youngster. (5) Have Patience. There will probably be a few things go wrong, so make the best of the situation. Bird-nest casts happen to the best of fishermen, hooks have been known to snag items other than fish, and spills (be it tackle boxes, sodas, or the bait container) will occur. (6) Look for those “willing” biters. Concentrate on fish that have a reputation for being easier to catch. Bluegill, bream, and carp have a reputation for always being hungry, and can offer fast fishing action. Keep a few fish to show off to the gang at home, and remember… Fish always taste better if you catch them yourself. Four or five bluegill don’t yield many fillets, however, to a youngster this may be the best fish they have ever eaten. (7) Take lot’s of photos so that you and your partner will be able to “relive” the outing for years to come. Having a camera along to record the events will also allow the youngster to have proof of the catch to show friends at school. This is also a good time to teach the child the importance of a catch-and-release program as you release a few of the breeder- size fish. (8) Take a break during your fishing. Kids love to throw sticks, wade along a shallow shoreline, and skip rocks across the top of the water. They also love to eat, drink, chase butterflies, watch animals, and a million other things that only another kid would consider important. (9) Set a proper example. Explain why you should wear life jackets, discuss why a kill-switch should be used, and above all keep your sense of humor. Take time during the trip to just talk and get to know your fishing buddy better. (10) Have fun. Keep in mind that the good Lord has only allocated so many days for each of us in this life, so make the most of each day. Kids and fishing are a dynamite combination so treasure those outdoor moments. JB