by Justin Hoffman (c) 2001
| Angling is a sport that greatly enriches one's life. We can all
still remember that first fish that tugged on our line, or the spilt can of worms or even
the tadpoles dancing in the water. This wonderful pastime has
taught us so much that one of the best things to do is pass this love on to a child.
Taking a child fishing is a wonderful way to get a youngsters love for the outdoors started. By following a few simple rules, you can make the day one that the both of you will remember for the rest of your lives.
Where to Go
Make sure that the area you plan to fish is close to home. Long car rides will tire most youngsters out before the fun even begins. My favorite spots include ponds, streams or lakes with good shoreline access, especially for times you won't be using a boat.
What to Bring
Make sure you bring live bait for the day's fishing. This will have the fish biting more than lures will, and if the child gets bored with fishing, playing with the worms or minnows will surely bring excitement. And if that's all the child feels like doing, then join in the fun, as there's more aspects to fishing than just casting a line.
Always bring a good assortment of food and juices in a cooler. Children have big appetites and there's nothing worse than running out of food out on the lake. Take time out for a picnic, and discuss the things you've done and find out what they liked best.
Fishing is much more than the physical act of catching a fish. It also involves taking in the scenery and wildlife, as well as the boat ride or splashing along the shoreline. Take the time to point out various species of birds or animals you may see, and try to teach the child something about the world that we live in. The knowledge a youngster gains during the time spent growing up will become the habits and direction they choose later on in life - make sure it is a positive aspect you instill.
Safety is another concern that adults must be aware of when taking a child out fishing. Always make sure the child is wearing a lifejacket (in the proper size) and don't let them wander out of your sight. Children are an adventurous bunch so make sure you stick close by them at all times.
And always bring warm clothes and sunscreen. Children's bodies are different than ours, and they need to be protected from the elements. That said, try to pick a nice, pleasant day for your outing. We can put up with severe weather, but a child will just become upset and discouraged.
So there you have it. Taking a child fishing can enrich both of your lives immensely. If you don't have a child yourself, see if a neighbor's son or daughter would be interested. And always remember that we were all children once, too.
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