Most people who love to fish have a story to tell, and it usually starts with a family fishing trip. After all, fishing is best taught in person, with traditions passed down from generation to generation. It’s a sport that can be enjoyed for a lifetime, and time spent on the water becomes part of your shared family memories.
In my case, we still laugh about the first time we took my younger brother fishing. The rest of us had our fancy equipment, ready to catch the biggest fish on the lake. But my brother was just a few years old, and he sat on the edge of the deck with a toy Fisher Price fishing rod, one that had come with a magnet at the end. We swapped out the magnet for a hook, and wouldn’t you know it, he reeled in sunfish after sunfish all afternoon, putting us all to shame.
A fishing trip with the family is a way to get to know each other better while enjoying the outdoors. And if you’re anything like our family, you can look forward to a picnic lunch even if the fish aren’t biting. If fishing isn’t a part of your family’s history, you may discover something new to enjoy together. Here are eight reasons why the sport is so appealing as a family activity.
1. Get Outside
Let’s face it, we spend far too much time indoors. Kids once roamed the neighborhood during every daylight hour, but now most activities are carefully planned, requiring someone to chauffeur them from one event to the next. A fishing trip gives you and your kids time to simply enjoy nature. Find a beautiful location that you shouldn’t need an excuse to visit, but you do. Even if they tire of fishing, kids love to explore the rocks, the mud, and the water. A downed tree suddenly becomes a pirate ship. An outdoor environment energizes the imagination and offers a whole new world apart from the controlled chaos of daily life.
2. Learn About Nature
What better way to learn about your environment than to spend some time in it? You can read about the food chain in a science book, but it’s a lot more fun to see the intersection of all the creatures in the wild. Teaching your kids how to identify fish and other wildlife is a lifelong skill that they absorb like a sponge. Developing an appreciation of nature is a great way to teach responsibility and stewardship. When life is filled with increasingly disposable things, this is a nice lesson to learn.
3. Put the Screens Away
Every parent struggles with the screen-based technologies that threaten to occupy kids every waking moment. Put them away and see the real world for a change. You might be pleasantly surprised by how they take to it. Just remember–put your screens away as well. Let your family take in the quiet pleasure of a fishing trip by the water and observing all around you.
4. Travel to New Places
Fishing can take your family to so many unique destinations. Start on the banks of your closest body of water. But from there, you can expand to all kinds of new adventures. What lakes in your area have the best reputation for catching big fish? Are you ready to hit the beach or head to the pier for some saltwater fishing? Find an alpine lake with scenery that will blow you away. A weekend fishing is an excuse to see a new part of the country.
5. Challenge Them
At first, the idea of baiting a hook or touching a fish can be hard for some kids. Let them give it a try. All the technical things that go into fishing take practice and the best way to do it is through repetition. They’ll gain greater independence and get more out of the activity. Of course, you’re there if they run into trouble, but let them do it themselves. They’ll ask for help if they need it. A good place for kids to start is with a fishing kit for your area. You’ll find that it won’t take long before they are handling everything on their own.
6. Get to Know Your Kids Better
Much of your family time can feel like crossing items off a to-do list. We need to be here by this time, and this chore has to be done before moving on to the next. A family fishing trip means hours to shoot the breeze and get to know each other. You’d be amazed at the discussions that can develop when you don’t have anywhere else to be. Get to know the personality of your children, and they get to know you.
7. Enjoy the Quiet
OK, maybe it won’t be so quiet when the kids are younger. But there are few places where you get away from the constant noise of modern life. It’s wonderful. You also discover that nature isn’t exactly silent. There’s so much activity all around you, and the sounds of nature are a welcome experience.
8. Learn to be Patient—and How to Fail
In this time of instant gratification, learning patience is an essential thing. Sometimes the fish aren’t biting, and that’s fine. There are challenges that come when teaching kids to fish. You can talk about what you can do better next time, but it helps to learn that even the best of intentions don’t always produce the expected results. Most of the time, fishing is about failure. It’s about waiting. And when we do catch that fish, the excitement makes your family fishing trip worthwhile.
Featured image provided by Pommelien da Silva Cosme