I was sitting around the other day reminiscing on days past. As usual if I’m thinking about fishing, my Grandfather enters my thoughts. Everything he taught me and tried to teach me (sometimes I didn’t listen to well.) All the time he spent with me even though he didn’t have to. I wouldn’t be the avid fisherman I am today if not for the time and effort he put into helping me out. The times he had to help me reel in my first big bass. Even the times he would have to set his pole down and stop fishing to help me get a snag loose.
Many years later down the road I had finally decided one day that my oldest daughter was getting big enough to go out and do some fishing. Of course she had been hounding me for a long time to take her and I seemed to always have an excuse not to. That was my biggest mistake. After taking her out and seeing how much fun she had and the look on her face when she caught her first fish. That is a feeling I will never forget or be able to replace. At that moment that little panfish meant more to me than any trophy bass I would ever catch in my life.
Now My daughter bugs me even more to go fishing. Every time she sees me getting the rods out she is asking if she can go. Knowing that I have given her an outlet for her time makes me feel better that later on down the road she will have a better chance of staying out of trouble, possibly.
After I had such a great experience I decided that I needed to help as many youth as I could become interested in this great sport. Enter my wife’s nephew. Great kid and funny as can be. Unfortunately he didn’t have anyone that would take the time out to take him out fishing. He loved looking at my pictures and hearing stories about trips or tournaments. I decided on one of our big family outings that I would throw the old Zebco in the truck and take him out for awhile. We was only able to fish for an hour or two but it made a world of difference to this boy. He learned how to have some patience and relax. He was a completely different person when he was fishing. The smile and hugs and thank you was more than enough to make me realize that fishing is a lot more than catching fish. It not always about me.
I then realized that it’s not just in my family. There are kids and teenagers everywhere that are dying for a chance to go fishing. All they need is for one of us to take time out of our busy schedules for just one day of fun and fishing. Trust me the joy and excitement you will get out of taking a kid fishing will surpass any trophy or monster bass you catch by a mile.
If you don’t know where to start. Just ask around. There are numerous programs around most of the bigger cities that would love another volunteer. Maybe organize a day where your fishing club takes out children from a local hospital or something. We all need to remember that children are the future of our sport and that we all need to get involved. The next time you get the chance…Pass It On.
Be Safe and Have Fun