I was fortunate as a child; my father was heavily into bass fishing, and often took me with him. At a very young age, I was completely hooked. I would day dream of our local ponds and catching monster bass, while the other kids were worried about which kind of music they were going to listen to and what was the coolest way to play it. Many of us can remember the anticipation. Dad or Grandpa would mention that they wanted to go fishing and this coming weekend would be a good time to do it. What ensued was a very antsy child that couldn’t think about anything else; excited and ready to go!
Now we have children and grandchildren of our own. They watch us go fishing, laugh with our buddies, and tell stories of the one that got away. We may not realize it, but they too are day dreaming about the big one they might catch some day. It’s natural for a child to want to go fishing, it’s part of our DNA to catch food to survive. While we don’t think of it that way anymore, it is how it all started.
Tell your son, daughter or grandchild that you are going to take them fishing and watch their eyes light up. Watch the excitement build. There will be hundreds of questions, lots of talk, probably even some bragging to their friends about how they get to go. Then come the sleepless nights, where all they can think about is fishing, casting their rod and working a bait. Dreams of out fishing the ‘ole man’. These sleepless nights, and then days filled with casting, whether you catch a bunch or not are going to build lasting memories.
I was fortunate and fished nearly every weekend as a child. There were a few weekends, mostly tournaments, where I got left behind and was crushed. However, I quickly turned those into days filled with wonder, did dad try this, did he do that, he should have a limit in the boat already. Then when he got home, I would hit him with a thousand questions. If he didn’t win, I always knew I could have; and thought when I get old enough to enter tournaments I’ll just have to show him.
Take a child fishing and watch the excitement build and feed on it. Get them involved in deciding where to go, what to fish with, what kind of snacks to take. Make them a part of every minor step. The excitement you see in a kids face will surely bring a smile to yours; you can’t help it. There is no big secret on having a successful day on the water with a child. The absolute hardest part is simply doing it. Once a date is set, and the promise is made, don’t back out, don’t let anything get in the way, a child just doesn’t understand and it will be heartbreaking.
Once on the water, just remember, you are making memories. Whether it rains, or you lose the big one at the side of the boat, or there are a few misplaced casts into the trees, a child sees it in a completely different light than we do and will have a blast no matter what!
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