Take a Grown-up Fishing

One of the many joys of our sport is shar­ing it, and tak­ing a kid fishing is a tra­di­tion of­fer­ing a prime ex­am­ple.

Saltwater Sportsman - - Table Of Contents / Departments - GLENN LAW

They take to it en­thu­si­as­ti­cally and read­ily, and it of­ten in­tro­duces them to a life­time of en­joy­ment. Or at worst, it leaves them with good mem­o­ries and a valu­able en­counter with the nat­u­ral world.

But kids are not the only can­di­dates. Not ev­ery fishing trip must be staged with the in­ten­sity of a tour­na­ment, and some­times fishing part­ners can be more than some­one who splits the fuel bill.

The SWS staff re­cently re­turned from our an­nual re­treat, where we plan the next year’s is­sues, and on the back­side we get in a cou­ple of days of fishing, which is some­thing the full team sel­dom has an op­por­tu­nity to en­joy to­gether.

A few of us spend con­sid­er­able time on the wa­ter and know what’s in store. But to oth­ers in our pub­lish­ing team the ac­tual fishing re­mains an ab­strac­tion. Some of the vi­tal roles in putting out a mag­a­zine ev­ery month and keep­ing a web­site stocked are filled by peo­ple who, while ex­perts in their own craft, may not have had the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the pas­sion oth­ers of us have for the sport. Given the right op­por­tu­nity, that’s easy to rem­edy, and these rare out­ings pro­vide the per­fect venue.

And it’s an easy sell. Fishing holds an in­nate ap­peal in the quest and the hunt. Whether or not you are a hunter, per se, we’re all in­grained with the man­date; it’s in our genes. The ex­pres­sion of that may en­tail shoot­ing birds or deer, chas­ing in­shore fish in shal­low wa­ter, plumb­ing the depths for pelag­ics, look­ing for ar­row­heads along a dirt road, or fer­ret­ing out bar­gains at the mall; it’s all the same drive, re­gard­less of the pre­ferred out­let.

Tak­ing an adult out for a re­mark­able ex­pe­ri­ence doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily pro­duce a driven fishing en­thu­si­ast, but it does pro­vide the ex­pe­ri­ence to some­one who may have never fully un­der­stood what it is that drives us: a gen­uine feel for the wa­ter and the en­vi­rons where the re­mark­able and al­ways chang­ing pat­terns of na­ture un­fold. And once in­vested in that through ex­pe­ri­ence and un­der­stand­ing, those con­verts be­come a con­stituency for our wa­ters and fish. Ini­tially, it’s the thrill of the catch that en­thralls and fas­ci­nates, but along with that in­evitably comes a sen­si­tiv­ity to the re­sources that seem to be con­stantly un­der at­tack. And we need all the war­riors we can en­list.

The con­ver­sion also begets the re­cruiter. As the chal­lenge and won­der — bait school­ing, birds wheel­ing, fish jump­ing — of our days off­shore un­folded, we watched the ex­pe­ri­ence spark a fire in the ini­ti­ates. We also watched the ex­cite­ment and en­cour­age­ment of other team mem­bers, who only a year or two ago sat in the novice seat. Now they were the ones giv­ing ad­vice and shar­ing in the pride of some­one else’s first sail­fish.

Over the course of our ven­ture, nearly every­one caught more fish than I did. But no one had a bet­ter or more grat­i­fy­ing time on the wa­ter.

So, cer­tainly take ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to in­tro­duce a kid to fishing. There’s magic in watch­ing their un­cer­tainty and ap­pre­hen­sion give way to nascent skills, con­fi­dence and ac­com­plish­ment.

Even when they’re full-grown.

Not ev­ery trip must be staged with the in­ten­sity of a tour­na­ment, and fishing part­ners can be more than some­one who splits the fuel bill.”

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