One fishing tackle manufacturer used to print the following line on its products: Take A Boy Fishing Today. The advice is still sound, although girls should be included as well.
Most youngsters are fascinated by every aspect of fishing. The small, magical things that surround a fishing trip are not lost on kids. The song of the red-winged blackbird, the little whirlpools that float behind the boat after each stroke of an oar or paddle, the morning mist on a shaded stream, all have important lessons to impart to wide-eyed youngsters on their first fishing trip.
One of the most valuable things you can give children is a love of fishing, a fondness for the myriad aspects of nature that can be found in every lake, pond, or tidal river. If you take the time to introduce children to the art of angling, you may be giving them something they can cherish for the rest of their lives.
It may be best to limit children’s first few trips to panfish rather than the more difficult game species. Experienced anglers need not catch buckets of fish in order to have a quality experience, but youngsters need a tangible reward, at least the first few times out. Let children learn how to use the tackle, how to play a fish, how to release a fish, and how to respect the resource. Then it is time to go for the glamour species.
Some adults make the mistake of paying too much attention to their own fishing, leaving the youngsters to figure things out by themselves. It is better to give children all your attention at first. Kids are fast learners, so this should not take much time.
Maine’s Hooked on Fishing program, begun in 1996, is designed to instill a love of fishing in children. Volunteers are always welcome to participate. No matter what your skill or talent, you can help make a difference. For more information on this and other volunteer projects, call the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife at 207-287-8069.