Friday, June 21, 2024

Keep It Simple, Make It Fun by Bruce Callis

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Our passion is fishing. It’s time to go fishing and we load up our gear. If we are bank fishing, it may be a couple poles and a bag of bait, or it could be 15 poles and all the bait the boat will hold. But what about when we are going to take our kids or the neighbor’s kid fishing? What do we do then? How do we pass on our passion and make it a fun day for them?
The day has to be fun, or they will never want to go again, or at least not for a long time. But what do we do to make it happen? Do we just take them out and let them throw topwater frogs back into the lily pads? Do we give them a drop shot to fish in 20 feet of water? Do we expect them to do like us and fish from sun up to dark? What do we do? There are some basic rules that will make sure they have a fun day out with us.
First, we need to make sure they have fun. Don’t expect them to want to stay all day. They may go out and only last an hour before they are ready to go home. Those long days will come later, but don’t get upset that they are done with the adventure. Don’t plan on being out all day. This adventure is theirs; we are along for the ride to help make it great.
Second, my adventure is not setting the hook, but getting his or her hook set into a fish. Notice, I said their hook, not mine. I have seen dads and moms who were too busy with their fishing to notice that the little one was miserable. We want to pass on our passion, and that means putting ever effort into making their day the most awesome time ever. I took my nephew out when he was 6; he caught 2 bass and was done. I asked to make sure he didn’t want to stay longer, but he was done. We were there on a perfect day, the bass were biting good, a dream day, but he had had his fun. Back to shore, we loaded everything back into the car, and home we went. We talked on the way home about his day. A great day, and I had hoped to fish longer with him, but I wanted him to want to come back again, so we called it a day.
Thirdly, try to do what the fish want, and go for the bite, not the big catch. A child that is busy watching fish eat their bait is a child that will want to come back again. My youngest daughter went with me fishing for the first time in many years. I had been out and found the fish were hitting topwater frogs. While this is not a great way for smaller kids, it works great for older ones. We went out and she was throwing a white Zoom Horny Toad and the bass were killing it. She missed a lot at first, but with a little hint, she started landing them. She stayed for a good 5 hours that first day, her choice. Now she is my fishing buddy. We may go out for only an hour at times, but it is quality time.
Fourthly, go simple. A simple rod that they can use, a hook and bobber and you are set. Some worms to put on the hook and let the bream, crappie, or whatever keep them busy. Give them a part in the day by letting them do things. Be responsible for carrying the tackle box, or the snacks. This is what will bring them back. A child’s first fish, no matter how small is the biggest fish of a lifetime.
A child will remember these experiences, good or bad. They will want to do the good things again, so no matter how the fishing was, make it fun, make it good. Every child is different, and these are guides are for you to learn from, and customize to your child. My hope is that you have the most amazing day fishing with your child and they become your fishing buddy, and they beat you like mine does.
Got another suggestion, a hint or tip to share, write it in the comments for others, and myself to learn from.

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