How to Teach Your Son or Daughter to Fish
I have been fishing all my life. My earliest memories are of farm ponds, barges and reservoirs at night with lanterns hanging off the gunwales to draw the shad and those who follow.
The common denominator of all these experiences was my father. Bullfrogs jug-o-rumming, mosquitoes buzzing, watching the surface of the lake boil with schooling white bass on a brilliant, blazing summer afternoon. He was with me in all of them.
My son turned six not too long ago. He has been fishing as many years as he has not. The long rod is still in the offing, he makes it clear that he wants no part of that as yet.
But the love of the water is there. Our first real angling experience was three years ago. The Fort Worth Fly Fishers were hosting an event and had stocked several thousand copper nose sunfish in the rocky shallows of the Trinity River.
We showed up with the Scooby Doo rod, a casting bubble and a box of PT nymphs and proceeded to catch those little guys until we both grew tired of it.
Ever since then it’s been non-stop. Days at grandpa’s place in Oklahoma, dragging channel cats out of the pond, fierce bluegills attacking streamers pulled behind bubbles. (A casting bubble is a wonderful thing for a child learning to fish, at least that has been my experience).
The best experience of though was hooking into a large channel cat on a streamer, fighting it long and hard while he watched. Finally he asked if he could fight it a while and I acquiesced, just knowing that it would break off or intimidate him. I learned a thing or two about fighting fish when he promptly turned 180° to the water, put the rod over his shoulder and marched inland, dragging that cat ashore.
I have fond memories, of our fishing experiences together, wading the flats in Galveston to the city ponds. Allow me to humbly share my thoughts on what gave me success in developing a budding angler.
Patience – I never went with the intention of fishing myself; or soon gave that up when I saw how the day was unfolding. Additionally, its important to grant them the right do things in all the wrong ways. Minimal fussing about how to rig a fly or cast a line. Sugar draws more flies than vinegar, plug in all the homilies here. We took it slow and had the end goal of fun in mind.
Put them on fish. Scenery is OK but a spot with lots of eager fish is sooo much more important. The bluegill is your friend. Find where the fish are and head that way.
Be willing to quit and pursue other activities. Netting tadpoles, exploring, its all good.
In closing I will summarize by saying that my end goal is always a trip to be remembered fondly. I heartily recommend laying it all out in your mind beforehand and being willing to veer from the course totally when the need arises.
We are dwindling in numbers each year us anglers. We need to grow more stewards of the wild. Making enthusiastic anglers and outdoorsmen of our sons and daughters is the best path to ensure the future of wildlife.
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