"If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles." ~Doug Larson
How important is it to take children fishing? Well, important enough that this weekend the Minnesota DNR will let you do it for free. That's right, adults can fish for free on all Minnesota waters if they are accompanied by a child under the age of 16 (check regulations for complete details).
Sure, that's a nice incentive to get a kid outdoors and introduce them to the wonderful experience known as fishing, but honestly it usually takes an adult making a commitment of precious time to allow this to happen. These days families seem to have busier schedules than perhaps they did three or four decades ago — that's simply a fact of life. Nevertheless, it's crucial to make it a priority to introduce a child to the excitement of fishing. Whether the child is your own, a neighbor's or even a niece or nephew…if you know a child close to your life that has never baited a hook or perhaps removed a perch, make a resolution to yourself that during the summer of 2009 that statement will change.
When I think back to some of my earliest memories in life many seem to involve some aspect of fishing. Moreover, my father died when I was only 10–years old and I can honestly say my fondest memories of him were the times we spent sitting on a river bank or in a boat fishing. Come to think of it, those memories didn't always involve catching fish…nope, instead they were created by simply sharing the experience together outdoors.
Sometimes it's easy for us to forget that something as simple as spending an afternoon fishing with a child can be so critically important in their life. Indeed, a child who develops an interest in fishing early in life will probably grow into an adult who better appreciates those pleasures throughout their lifetime. On the other hand, a child who never gets the opportunity to fish as a youth will be more apt to grow into an adult wondering why fishing is such a great pastime enjoyed by so many of us.
Keep in mind, if someone took the time to introduce you to the outdoors you owe it to the next generation to share that same enthusiasm and knowledge. Take a kid fishing…and pass it on.