This week Camp Chapman is set up in Boca Grande, Fla. We have the entire Chapman clan here for a kids tarpon fishing tournament. Mason and Makayla are excited to get out on the water and catch some fish. It reminds me how much fun I had fishing in my youth.
Recently, I've seen several of my Elite Series competitors doing things to get kids involved in fishing. Chris Lane just announced his sixth annual kids camp in Alabama, and Skeet Reese just held his third annual kids fishing day out in California, just to name a couple.
As professional anglers we travel around the country and do as much as we can to promote the sport to everyone. It's not always easy to find the time to take kids fishing, though. It seems like we have less spare time than ever before. However, all of us from the weekend angler to the top anglers in the world need to find the time to share the love of fishing with the next generation ... and the generation behind that.
This topic is very important to me, not only for my own kids but for all kids. I know most of my colleagues in professional fishing feel the same way. I see it at every event. Almost every guy will sign autographs and talk fishing with kids for as long as possible. It goes beyond us as pros, though it takes every angler and in some cases even parents, relatives and friends that aren't anglers to find the time to take a kid fishing. The sport is a great way for kids to get outside, explore nature and learn about the outdoors. It's something they can do their entire lives and hopefully share with their kids and grandkids in the future.
I remember when my dad, uncle, family members and friends took the time to take me fishing. They probably saw it as a good way to keep me busy or from getting into trouble, but it ended up leading me to a career. You may or may not have the chance to take a future professional angler fishing, but you never know. I'm sure my dad and uncle never imagined they had a future Bassmaster Elite Series angler with them, but they still took me fishing every chance they had.
I can't thank them enough for that.