Do you fish? Have you passed on your love of fishing to a child in your life? Even If you have never fished it is not too late to learn and to teach a child to fish as well.
Fishing provides teaching moments supporting conservation of the environment and develops a life-long love of being outdoors. It is also an opportunity to spend quiet time with a child or children, sitting by a stream in the fresh air and sunshine telling stories and bonding.
A good way to begin is to search out your local lakes, streams and piers where fish are being caught. Then take the children and check out the sites.
You may find people fishing, who will be happy to chat with you, show you their gear and advise what kinds of fish are biting and what bait they are using.
Once you decide the best options for yourself and the youngsters, you will need equipment. The local sports stores that sell fishing gear can often sell you a license also. Children under 16 years do not typically need a license but have to be accompanied by a licensed person.
Many states have a lifetime fishing license available for senior citizens; a bargain for grandparents! Since fishing is regulated by each state, the laws are state specific.
When you get your license you will be given a book with the laws and rules for your state. Be careful to read these carefully! Laws will specify legal fishing areas, times of day and type and size of fish that you can catch.
Choose equipment that’s easy to use for your first adventures. Casting is more difficult than just dropping a line into the water, so consider the age of the children you are teaching when deciding what kind of pole and tackle to choose for beginners.
Also select bait that is user friendly. Children may be squeamish about putting a worm or minnow on a hook, but will be OK with a piece of hot dog, and yes, some fish will go for a hot dog! If the children are uncomfortable with killing the fish, just take out the hook and toss the fish back. The fun is in the catching!
If you take the children to fish on a dock or pier where the water is deep, make sure you have them wear a US Coast Guard approved life jacket.
Remember other important outdoor precautions. Bring and use sunscreen, pack and wear hats and jackets when needed. Watch out for poison ivy and oak. Pack a lunch and drinks and enjoy!!!!
Ben Franklin said it best: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Go fishing with a child, and he will learn to fish and never forget you!