When you take a child angling for the first time, catching fish is the top priority. They don’t have to be big fish, but they should be cooperative and plentiful enough to amaze and delight the beginner.
Gear and technique aren’t important. Nor is teaching the youngster to bait his or her own hook and take the fish off the hook. The catch is the thing.
You bait the hook, you take off the fish and, as you do, you revel in the child’s delight as you remember how it was for you when you were that age.
Some of us never outgrow that intense desire to catch fish. The rest of us never forget. That’s why all of us who fish can identify with Chicago angler Johnny Wilkins, who tried in vain recently to set the world record for most fish caught in 24 hours.
Though he failed, Wilkins still caught a staggering 2,011 fish, most of them bluegills, on a cane pole.
“I’m all pruney-handed and carved up from catching fish,” he said. “Two thousand fish is kind of a lot for one day.”
I’ll say. Most of us don’t catch that many fish in a year.
But I do remember when a buddy and I caught more than 150 bass in one day (we stopped counting at 150). Our thumbs were raw and bleeding by the time we headed in, and that was a day we’ll never forget.
Just as our children and grandchildren will never forget those special days of catching fish with us.
When you’re young, catching fish is why you fish. As you age, you begin to recognize other pleasures to be derived from wetting a line. In my new book, Why We Fish, I explore those reasons, as do others, including Bill Dance, Dave Precht, Kathy Magers, Ken Cook, Steve Chaconas, Ben Leal, TChad Montgomery, Bruce Condello, and Teeg Stouffer.
You can check out the book, along with reviews about it, at Amazon. Just click on the button at the right side of the page.