When I reflect on my early childhood memories of fishing I smile and laugh. If my father were to reflect on those same memories, smiling and laughter would be the last two words that would come to his mind. Before I regale you with tales of my childhood fishing experience, you should first understand that my father is not considered a patient man. I feel this is important since many of us believe we lack the patience part of this fishing equation.
When I was a child being taught the basics of fishing, I was considered to be a prodigy. I could bait my hook. I could take my fish off the hook. I was so advanced that I managed to set the hook only on fish and not other people. I was amazing and I quickly mastered the art of 30-minute bluegill fishing before I was bored and wanted to do something else. Credit should be given to my dad for ensuring that wherever we fished, exploring and adventure could be had nearby while he continued fishing. Now how do you take the world’s best child bluegill fisherman and turn him into your worst fishing nightmare? All you have to do is take two elements out of the early fishing experience (Bluegill, open area to roam) and replace them with fishing for Bass from a boat.
I still had the 30-minute attention span needed to start the fishing trip off right. Now when that time expired and no fish had been caught, I was ready to move on to more entertaining things. What can a child do to entertain himself in a boat you ask? The least destructive would be to lay down in the boat and go back to sleep. Another one of my favorite ways to pass the time was seeing how high in a tree I could cast my lure over a branch and still have it come down and touch the water. This is a super productive way to spook fish as my dad had to troll into the area he was trying to fish to unhook the snagged line. My brother and I even made up a song about our lures going "up the elevator" as we tried to reel them back over a branch. I'm sure it's still one of my dad's favorite songs.
What other amazing games did I come up with to ruin the fishing, you ask? Well, what if you're so smart you pretend your lure is an Olympic high diver with the goal of making the biggest splash? Well, then you would cast your lure as far up into the air as possible to see if you or your brother could make a bigger splash. This huge splash acts like a dinner bell for fish, calling them in from miles around. Now if you are new to fishing, I'd like to inform you that the previous statement is sarcasm. What if the fish aren't biting but you see a bunch of turtles and frogs? It's only logical for a child to cast at them and see if they want a plastic worm as a snack. Turns out they do and they are so much fun for your dad to get the hooks out of their mouths.
Why take your kids fishing?
I can go on and on with possible activities your child may come up with while you try to ignite their interest in fishing, but let’s go back to the question in the title. My father yelled and reprimanded me for my destructive games, as he should have. So, the patience part wasn't a large portion of the equation. The difference was persistence. No matter how many times I would go fishing, get bored and start up one of my games, my dad always asked me to go fishing with him. It was through repeated exposure that one day the joy of bass fishing finally clicked for me. Now my dad and I have been out bass fishing countless times since my childhood, and it is without a doubt responsible for some of my greatest memories with my pops. If you want your child to love fishing as much as you do, my advice is to be persistent and always ask your kids to go fishing with you. Even if you know there is a 99% chance they are going to ruin the trip, you should invite them anyway. Those early growing pains might blossom into the best fishing buddy you've ever had.