It's easy to let life get in the way, with work, school, family commitments and maybe even tournaments. But don't ever let it get in the way so much that it keeps you from taking kids fishing.
Shawn Elliott, a member of the Michigan Bass Anglers, wants to give you that extra bit of motivation to get kids out on the water. He's got two of his own — Joey, 7, and Davy, 5 — and loves wetting a line with them. He wrote the following for Walleye World, the newsletter for the Lake St. Clair Walleye Association.
Got other reasons of your own to take kids fishing? Add them in the comments section!
1. It gives your spouse the day off.
What’s that saying? Oh, yeah: "happy wife, happy life."
2. You can make a game out of it.
Quiz them on various lures as you sort through the tacklebox together. Discuss why you use each lure or bait. You might be surprised at what they know.
3. It's quality time together.
Fishing trips, good or bad, create lasting memories and something to talk about with your kid. Take pictures and video; it's a digital age we live in, plus they are great to send to Grandma.
4. Kids love boat rides.
No explanation needed. Kid + fast boat = fun.
5. Enhance their creativity.
Kids love going to bait shops, and there is always cheap stuff around. Have them pick up a fishing lure on the sale table and let their mind explore how they are going to use it and what they might catch. Kids are creative in the way they view a fishing lure, using it in an application it wasn't meant for and catching fish.
6. It helps you build character.
Stretch your patience to the end and beyond. It's not a whole lot of fun untangling line after line, reel after reel, losing your best lures — you get the picture. Bring the extra rod; you'll need it. But it’s all worth it when they smile and thank you for taking them fishing.
7. You can test your pain tolerance.
You will need it at some point to get those hooks out of a finger or hand, most likely yours. Take the boater safety class and bring a first aid kit — but, hopefully, you never have to use it.
8. Become one with nature.
Kids like to battle the elements and to ride fast and hit the waves. Time after time, kids surprise me at how much they're willing to endure the heat, rain, and wind to go fishing on a boat. Whenever it's unsafe to go fishing, talk with them about the weather conditions so they'll understand what to look for — and so they can anticipate the next trip.
9. You get to tell fishing tales.
Part of the special time is telling the tales afterward, and the stories will get better every time they're told.
10. It will keep you humble.
You might get out-fished. Somehow, I have never beat my son(s) or any other kid on my boat while fishing and, hopefully, I never will. Keep the fishing trip about them by making sure they are catching fish, even if it's a small bluegill, and make great memories.