Taking kids fishing and getting them into the outdoors ... sometimes a challenge but well worth it.
Have you ever had the opportunity to see a child’s face and the reaction they have when they feel a fish bite at the end of their line? If you haven’t, I hope that I can encourage you to take a child out and give them the chance to show you what an incredible experience it really can be.
Today we have encouraged our kids to stay indoors and play on computers, watch TV, and keep their lives as simple as we can. Most of the time this is only due to how stressed our lives have become. Or we take the other route and run the kid ragged with every activity that we can possibly put them into—to keep them busy so we can also keep up with our stressful lives.
When I was much younger, my parents basically told us to get outside, but it was something that we wanted to do. When we came back from school we wanted to stay out and spend time with our friends and usually only came home as it got darker for dinner. The anti-social behaviors that we are now seeing today in society have been created because we allow our kids to remain behind their closed bedroom doors on their Nintendos and computers and alone. W are not allowing our kids to create the same kind of social networking that we enjoyed.
Although I had spent a lot of time outdoors when I was a kid, I was one of those people who never had the want or need to go out and fish. First I was brought up to believe it was a guy thing and girls really didn’t want to fish. It wasn’t encouraged and I wasn’t pushing it.
It took me until I was forty and a very open minded husband before I realized what I had missed by not having the opportunity to fish as a kid. Since then I am totally passionate about what I had missed and have the chance to now share it with my daughters and granddaughters and other fishing sisters.
Having a granddaughter four years ago gave me the opportunity to see what it was like to fish as a child through her eyes. We laugh when we say she was born with a fishing rod in her hand ... but I guess she entered into this world with having one waiting for her.
We encouraged her to play indoors with her rod, and by the time she was eighteen months old, she knew how to cast her little plastic kid’s rod and proudly reeled it back in.
She liked going to the pond and practicing her fishing, but it took until she was around three before she actually was able to catch her own fish.
One day I took her down to a local pond and videotaped our experience. What I found amazing was how hyper she was before we started fishing. She was jumping around, using her outdoors voice, and getting pretty excited about getting ready to fish. However, when we did start to fish she became quiet and soft spoken, and she was calm.
As I spoke in my normal indoor voice, she told me to be quiet. She said our voices would scare the fish and we had to whisper. She now has the nickname, the “fish whisperer,” because of it. She sat and talked about catch and release and being able to catch her fish again later. It was an amazing day that I was fortunate enough to have caught on video. She watched that video for months every night before she went to bed.
Taking a kid fishing opens up so many lines of communication. Kids will tell you their stories when you’re fishing with them. This new opportunity gives you the chance to focus in on their lives and what is going on in it. It also gives you the place to share stories of your history and your families. Fishing is about so much more then catching the fish.
You don’t have to rent a boat or find a large lake. Fishing can be done at local small streams, rivers, and ponds all around the world. For under $100 you can buy your license, get some rods and tackle, and enjoy a year of fishing. We spend more then that going to one movie, concert, or sporting event that last for only that one day.
Before you head out with your child, here are some things you should make sure you take into consideration.
- Life jackets—it doesnt matter if it’s in two inches of water … remember what your mom told you. Don’t take a chance with small children.
- Bug spray
- Snacks—drinking boxes, water
- Hats and proper clothing (hot and cold), rain gear … just in case
- Sunglasses (even if its not overly sunny, reflections off the water sometimes make it difficult to see)
- Wet naps
- Equipment—rod and spinning reel combos are available at large box stores in their sporting goods department. You will also find kid’s rods and tackle. I would suggest taking your child to the store with you to start the experience.