Anytime when the weather permits, you have an opportunity to seed the next generation with the passion and skill that will lead them to a sincere respect for the out-of-doors.
Teach your youngsters how to handle a fishing rod, bait a hook and land a fish. I recommend that you introduce them to the easy to catch bluegill or whatever species that can be easily caught.
I taught my daughters to fish when they were young, and now I do the same for my grandchildren. When Chloe was 5, Tyler 4, Jordan 4 and recently Juliette 3 years old, they each got a chance to go fishing with Pappy.
The initial trip lasts about 1 hour. I take a 5 gallon bucket to serve as the live-well so the kids have a chance to examine their catch. Poke the fish with a stick, or play in the bucket when the “thrill” of fishing gets old.
Keep in mind that, the question about practicing catch and eat or catch and release should be discussed with the kids. You may be surprised by their answer. Hint: Grammy makes fish for supper after our trips.
Since their initial trips, the four grandkids are always ready for a fishing trip! Jordan's training hit a snag when he was bitten by a hornet and for a time he associated fishing with bee stings. He did out-grow his fear and fishes again.
Chloe, the oldest, graduated from bluegills to carp and catfish. Like all of us, she is thrilled by the fight with a “big fish”. Her account of her big catch convinced her brother and cousins to give up easy to catch little bluegils for larger fish. Yes, as part of their training, a successful trip now is not the total number of fish caught, but it is the thrill of catching a "monster fish".
Remember to do one-on-one trips when the kids are very young. One child is fun, two can be too much. Pack snacks and drinks, park close to the fishing location and a restroom, dress in clothes they can get dirty and wet.
Finally, be prepared to end the fishing instruction in favor of catching frogs in the shallows. You can "plant a fishing seed" but you need to give it time to grow.
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