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Entries in kids (9)

Monday
Jul142014

The Magic of Fishing

Fisheries leaders long have known that successful advocacy depends on economic justification. They recognize that recreational fishing’s worth must be proven by the numbers to state and federal decision-makers who authorize and appropriate funds for fisheries and conservation programs.

I understand and support that strategy. Recreational fishing generates more than $125 billion annually in economic output and more than one million jobs. It clearly is worth the money that we invest in it, and that is something that politicians understand.

But you and I both know that angling’s intrinsic value is what keeps us going to the lakes, rivers, and oceans. We fish for fun, to relax, to compete, and to spend quality time with friends and family. We fish to forget. And we fish to remember. We fish to lower our blood pressure. And we fish to raise our adrenaline.

Did you know, though, that fishing also is magic? That probably doesn’t mean much to the politicians who control the purse strings, but parents and volunteers will tell you that fishing works in ways that we can’t quantify to enrich the lives of millions who endure illness, injury and disability. As much as we might think angling means to us, both economically and inherently, it can mean even more to them.

“Fishing and other outdoor activities are a diversion from the reality that they have life-threatening illnesses,” says Gene Gilliland, B.A.S.S. National Conservation Director and organizer of an annual day on the water for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses at Camp Cavett on Lake Texoma.

“This gives them a chance to be a kid again. It’s amazing how fired up they get to go for a ride in the boat and to go fishing.””

Fishing makes a difference, too, for war veterans who have been wounded and are struggling to adjust to the new reality of their civilian lives.

“We see the benefits over and over,” reports Heroes on the Water, an organization that takes injured warriors fishing in kayaks. It adds, however, that “the rehabilitation aspect was an unintended consequence of helping injured service members.”

Realization of that aspect of the magic occurred with a veteran suffering from traumatic brain injury. He stuttered, would not talk, and wanted to be left alone. He had to be persuaded to get in a kayak for a four-hour outing.

“When we were helping him out, we asked how his morning was,” Heroes says. “For 30 seconds, he was jabbering away, talking about how great kayaking was, how he caught five fish, and how he really enjoyed the time on the water.

“Then he --- and we --- realized he was talking normally.”

For the first time in two years.

The stuttering eventually returned, but the soldier said, ‘Now I know I can do it (speak normally). Now I have hope.”

Fishing and other outdoor activities provide hope for children with autism as well.

“What I’ve discovered about people on the (autism) spectrum is that they are highly institutionalized,” says Anthony Larson, owner of Coulee Region Adventures and father of a 6-year-old with the disability.

Such a lifestyle, he theorizes, puts to “sleep” the part of the brain that makes maps and encourages creativity. Additionally, those on the spectrum often have issues with their body placement, as well as linking their body with their emotions and estimating where they are in time and space.

“So, when children participate in the outdoors, they are using parts of the brain that normally don’t get used, as well as utilizing muscle groups that don’t get used.

“Another benefit to being in the outdoors is exhaustion!” he emphasizes. “It’s a lot of work to be outdoors. And, like I tell my son’s therapists, he can’t fight if he’s tired.”

Eli Delany also noted the therapeutic value of fishing for his son, and that prompted him to found My Little Buddy’s Boat, an autism awareness program now promoted by many of the top professional anglers.

“He loves nature and the boat’s movement and the sensation it gives him,” says Delany. “He really is starting to enjoy the fishing part of it, casting his rod and holding the bass after we catch them.”

And Katie Gage, the mother of two sons with autism, adds this:

“Fishing has proven to be great therapy. They can find peace on the water, and they can connect their love of science and nature and stewardship. No pressure, just fish!”

So . . . you can tell the politicians that angling is worth more than $125 billion annually if you want to. I say that it’s priceless. 

Friday
May232014

Time to Introduce Someone to Fishing

With summer here, please make it your mission to introduce someone to fishing. If you haven’t done it before, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how enjoyable it is for you as well as your student, especially if he or she is a child.

Here’s a primer from Take Me Fishing on setting the hook. One of the things that I’ve discovered over the years is that beginners often do not know what you mean when you say “set the hook.” Their immediate impulse is to just start reeling line.

So take the time to tell beginners what you mean before you tell them to do it.

And don't take it too seriously if your students don't get it right immediately. Fishing is fun, remember?

“The angler forgets most of the fish he catches, but he does not forget the streams and lakes in which they are caught.” Charles K. Fox

He also remembers the person who first took him fishing.

Thursday
Mar202014

Potash Tournament Benefits Fishery, as Well as Charity, Kids

Tournament competitors dropped Fishiding "Safehouses" to improve habitat at Strom Thurmond Reservoir.

Activist Angler note: Teaming with Fishiding, PotashCorp introduced a conservation component to its benefit tournament last year and plans to include it again this year. I hope that other tournament organizers will take note and follow the leader because these kinds of projects actually could improve fisheries.

A few have had competitors release fry during one of the competition days, but all that really does is provide an opportunity for promotion of the event. It does little or nothing to help the fishery. If bass have sufficient habitat, they will reproduce just fine on their own. If they don't, adding more fish to compete for already limited forage and cover is pointless.

The following article about the Potash tournament appears in the April issue of B.A.S.S. Times:

In regard to bass tournaments, Joey Bruyninckx had a better idea.

“I wanted to do something that benefits charity, kids, and the environment,” said the environmental specialist for PotashCorp, who added that he likes to fish and has ties to fishing. “From there, it just all came together.”

Thus was born the PotashCorp Fishback Tournament, set for June 6-7 at J. Strom Thurmond Reservoir (also known as Clark Hill) on the Georgia-South Carolina border.

But it’s possible that this year’s team event, unlike the inaugural last year, might be changed to one day instead of two.

“A lot of the fishermen are older and the two-day tournament was rough on them,” Bruyninckx said. “And it was exhausting for the volunteers. Changing it to one day should increase participation while lessening work.”

Still, last year’s two-day tournament, with a $12,000 payout for first place, was a “huge success,” said the employee of the world’s largest fertilizer company. With 135 teams competing, $6,000 was raised for the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance and $4,000 for the North Augusta Fishing Team, a youth organization. Volunteers from the latter performed much of the labor, including returning bass to the lake.

What made this event different from most others, meanwhile, was the conservation component. On Day One, each team placed habitat in the reservoir on its first or second stop.

“I was worried that there would be a lot of fussing and grumbling,” the environmental specialist said. “But afterward, a number of them told me how much they appreciated what we were doing. There were way more positive comments than negative.”

Had competitors been asked to load a brushpile with cinder blocks onto the deck of their bass boats, the reaction might not have been so positive. But instead PotashCorp provided them with self-contained habitats made from reclaimed vinyl siding by Fishiding (a supporter of Activist Angler). All anglers had to do was unfold and drop the “Safehouse,” which boasts a 7-foot diameter when opened.

Fishiding owner Dave Ewald said the units “sink to the bottom and land upright to resemble a bush. The wide limbs create maximum shade, often preferred by bass and forage fish. Nutrients then stick to the vinyl and start the food chain.”

Bruyninckx sought and received approval from Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) before implementing the habitat-improvement component of the tournament. Orginally, he had considered having each team release bass fry, but DNR biologists convinced him that adding habitat would be more beneficial.

The same is planned for this year’s event, which its creator hopes will have more sponsors. PotashCorp donated $25,000 last year and is expected to increase that to $30,000 this year.

Those interested in participating in the tournament should contact Jon Hair at the Tackle Shop in Martinez, Ga. Phone numbers are (706) 432-8225 and (706) 723-6292.

Companies interested in being a sponsor should contact Bruyninckx at (706) 469-1239. 

Thursday
Sep052013

KFT Wants to Get More Kids Fishing

 

Check out this new Wisconsin-based organization designed to get more youngsters involved in fishing. The following is from the organization's "about" page.

KIDS FISHING FOR TOMORROW is a non profit organization dedicated to young men and women between the ages 10 to 17 years of age. This will be our first year with this new program so it’s very important to get all to support, sponsorships and donations that we can. We can’t make this happen without your support. 

KIDS FISHING FOR TOMORROW is a program that will help protect the sport of fishing for generations. This organization is like no other in the country. We are on the water with these young adults 120 to 150 days a year. Our goal is to get as many kids on the water with our team of State Licensed Fishing Guides and Professional Tournament Anglers. On any normal given week we will be running two shifts a day 5 days a week. One morning shift and one afternoon shift. Each boat will take a maximum of 3 young men and women per shift weather providing. 

  • These kids will learn how to tie different knots on hooks and swivels. 
  • They will learn the art of jigging, trolling with planner boards.
  • Different techniques to fishing with slip bobber's. 
  • They will learn how to read fish locators and GPS mapping
  • Learn and have the opportunity to catch big fish.

 

KIDS FISHING FOR TOMORROW is designed to cost parents of these young men and women nothing. This program is designed to get kids on the water no matter what background they come from. We understand life is not always easy. Whether from single or combined parent families we encourage all young adults that want to learn and challenge themselves in the world of fishing to participate in our program. Not all families have the skills, knowledge or personal resources available to expose their child to the outdoor experience of fishing. We encourage all families to take advantage of this program. For some of these young men and women, this will be there first time fishing or fishing from a boat. 

KIDS FISHING FOR TOMORROW will give those kids the opportunity to get out and be hooked for life. We want to get kids on the water and teach them the proper art of fishing so that they will have the opportunity to catch fish and the possibility of catching a fish of a life time. 

KIDS FISHING FOR TOMORROW 
can not do this without your support. We truly need all the support we can get. We have a lot of expenses as you can imagine. Please help support this great community organization with a simple donation or become a sponsor. Every dollar raised for this organization will be used to help serve the needs of the kids and support our mission.

Not all kids can throw a football 50 yards or hit a baseball 300 feet but they can learn how to fish which they can carry with them the rest of there lives.

Our goal is to move this program into as many states as we can through your support. Remember these kids are all of our futures. We can’t do this without your support!

Wednesday
Aug142013

Family Bluegill Tournament Planned for Sept. 28 in Texas

Photo by Robert Montgomery

A bluegill family fishing tournament is set for Sept. 28, sponsored by the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. What a great way to remind adults how much fun they can have by fishing with children.

Participants can fish in adjacent Lake Athens or in the center’s ponds and streams, some of which have been stocked with bluegill.

More than $2,500 in prizes will be awarded.

Go here to learn more.