I write this from my recliner at the lake. It is a wonderful morning with the sun out and very little wind. We had a bit of a cool off so I was able to sleep with the windows open and all of the covers which is a treat for me in the summer. It is that time of day when things start to come alive for another day. I have seen a squirrel walk by on the tree out back, heard many birds and seen a few early rising neighbors walk or ride their bikes by.
While I sit here and enjoy a cup of coffee, I am thinking about my fishing outing yesterday with Braden. I had planned to fish for four or five hours. When we got started, I had no problem catching enough fish for a limit in short order but B had a tough time. He just could not feel the bites and was getting frustrated.
We moved to a new part of the lake and I told him new spot new outlook. He started catching a few fish and his fun meter went up. Now that he was on the catching again, he was happy. We fished for about two more hours before I mentioned that I was hungry.
Now he was having fun and stalling. This was not the first time he did this to me this year. I can’t argue to loud with a kid that wants to stay out fishing. That makes me think that I did my job as a parent on that front.
So how does one get to this point with a kid? First off, not all kids are created equally. Some just flat out don’t like it and it is what it is. Some kids just don’t care or get it. I see this many times in the guide boat where a dad brings a kid that doesn’t like fishing or brings two kids with one all in and one that is well….
The key to making this work is getting them out there early in life. Have lots of snacks and do whatever you can to get them some success. If they have to sit there all day watching you fish the desire to go will disappear quickly.
When I started Braden I took lots of juice and snacks. I let him hold the rod and if he didn’t want to I just let him put it down. In the early years I would limit trips to two or three hours. I was lucky that he caught a few fish and got the excitement.
When he was five, I got him up to about four hours at a time and he had some success but still ate lots of snacks. At six or seven years old when we were at the lake, I would let him swim for a while between fishing. I just kept increasing times and as he got older and learned what to do it became natural for him.
Now at ten years old we are working on fish cleaning, snell tying, boat driving and I am trying to get him to identify and remember spots. All skills that he will need when he ventures away from me.
I mention that because I know a man who was always the “young” one and everybody did everything and he just fished. We came to find out that at 30 years old he could not drive the boat or pick a spot. Not because he didn’t want to but because he never had to.
With what is left this summer get a kid or kids out and get them some fishing success. Make this a lifelong love for them to keep the tradition alive.