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19 Apr

Kid’s Fishing….The Ultimate Character Builder For Everyone

The cold chill of winter is still here for a few more months, but soon the warmer days will appear. The coming spring is no better time to introduce the kids in your family to fishing. It takes planning and commitment, but it’s a commitment that pays off in many areas.

Today’s younger generation many times miss out on the wonderful childhood memories that I had or even the memories like my children had. When my kids were coming up, we lived on a 50 acre wooded property, complete with a small lake just a few feet way form the house. Fishing and playing around the water was a big part of our lives. Later, after moving to the coast of North Carolina, my small son and I spent countless hours either surf fishing or fishing from an old broken down dock on the ICW. I fished for croakers and spots while my little boy would catch small crabs in the nearby marsh grass. These were wonderful times for both of us. It was times like these that created the strong family bond that we have today and it built character in both of us. This level of character is present today. That little boy grew up to be a United States Marine and a law enforcement officer. He’s now a father and spends every minute possible with his 2 small children and much of it outdoors. The outdoors and fishing are the foundation that these positive bonds are built on.

Fishing with kids, especially your children is a blessing for everyone involved. It’s a win-win for everyone and it serves as a positive solution to all the negative things kids face today. We recently spoke to Captain Wilson Hanna of Redfin Charters of Charleston and got his perspective on the impact of taking kids fishing. His views are heartfelt and are a clear indication of his love of both fishing and children. Here’s what Wilson had to say:

Introducing kids to fishing can be a challenge today due to the many distractions that they face in the way of electronic gaming, TV and mobile devices. Also, many kids today don’t have the encouragement at home to enjoy the many outdoor activities that us adults had as kids. So, it’s easy to say that all interest in fishing for a kid has to start with an adult. Whether it is a parent, grand parent or even a neighbor, this needs to be part of the plan. That person serves as the source of instruction and they monitor the safety aspects of being near the water. Wilson believes that the biggest obstacles is time and finances. The cost of fishing for a kid can be relatively inexpensive if you start small. Getting the top of the line in equipment and a tackle bag filled with countless expensive lure is not necessary. A Zebco rod and reel combo with a small array of hooks, sinkers and bobbers can get the ball rolling. Go to your local tackle shop for help and advice. They’re the experts and can many times show you how to put your rigs together. Parents that have no fishing experience should not be intimidated with this process. Remember the guys and girls in the tackle shop are there because of their fishing passion and they love to help.

Time can be a bit more challenging. Unlike the days of yesteryear, things like cell phone, texting, cable and satellite TV with 300 channels pose as a significant distraction to not only the kids, but also the adults as well. That means that you have to prioritize your time for fishing with kids. Set aside a day and time ahead to go fishing. If it is cold, wear a coat. If it’s hot, take plenty of cold water. If your tired, just remember that fishing is a great way to relax and rest. Most of all keep your promise.

Start small, start simple and start with success in mind. Don’t start with having to use a boat that requires time and work to get on the water, or feel like you have to drive a long distance to fish in saltwater. Instead, find a nearby lake and fish for bream and crappie of bass. Once there, keep them occupied. Let them handle the bait, then let them take part in baiting the hook, showing them how to do it safely. Let them practice casting and see to it they enjoy every part of fishing.

Kids leaning and enjoying fishing serves as the ultimate character builder. They learn to appreciate and respect the outdoors. They also learn to respect the fishing resource and to protect it. It shows them that the better they develop their fishing skills they more fun they will have. Nothing is handed to them. Fishing makes you earn everything. Most of all, you have to learn to overcome failure and when you stop and think about it, it does the same for the adults. You have to keep your promise. You have to be prepared. In many cases you also have to learn the sport yourself. That’s right…..you’ll have to learn the oldest and greatest sport on earth.

It’s important to remember that for today’s youth, things are significantly different than when it was when we were younger.  Many families consist of only one parent, or a step parent or a blended family. That doesn’t mean that fishing can’t exist. As a matter of fact, mom’s make great anglers and it’s a great way for step-dads to build a super relationship with the kids. And then there’s gran dad… a role I know quite well.

Some how us old guys become the masters of fishing with kids. It gives us the chance to see our grand kids grow strong in our eyes as we age gracefully in theirs.

The goal is to have fun, be together, enjoy the outdoors and  create great memories. Best of all, it’s easier than you think. It just takes a little planning and commitment. But it’s a commitment that pays off for a lifetime.

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