Teaching Children How To Fish
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Teaching children how to fish
Teaching a child to fish opens up decades for enjoying fine food, accomplishment, good fellowship, patience, and an excuse to grow a four day beard. How then should one go about it?
1) START FROM A BOAT: Trolling from a boat is the safest, most controllable environment. Starting on a river is an invitation to a nasty accident. Similarly, fishing off the side of a dock or pier is just asking for an excited child to get very wet, very quickly. So find a quiet lake or river and troll.
2) USE A LURE: The debate will last forever as to whether lures or live bait are a better way of attracting fish. Depending on the child’s delicacy of stomach, it may be a turn-off to immediately start threading worms, leeches, or minnows on a hook.
3) SUNFISH: If there is a local body of water inhabited by sunfish, go there. Sunfish find absolutely anything in the water appealing, and so the child will know the thrill of landing something without having to wait for hours.
4) LET THE CHILD LEAD: When the child is ready to try and cast, bait a hook, or reel in a fish, he or she will let the experienced person in the boat know. Try and avoid pressure. Just handing the child an already cast rod with the instructions to shout out when there is a pull on the line is quite enough.
5) WEAR A LIFE JACKET: Also wear a hat and apply sunscreen. Water reflects the sun and one can end up with a nasty burn even on cool, cloud-covered days.
6) CATCH AND RELEASE: If a caught fish is not really a keeper, gently remove the hook and let it go free. It is never too early to teach respect for nature.
After all that, enjoy a good shore lunch and tell a few stories. Children will never forget the day they learned to fish and will soon be casting in the back yard with a fly rod and small weight (a nut or washer from the bottom of the toolbox) in preparation for the next fishing trip.