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Entries in nature (18)


But I knew for a fact that I had caught little or nothing on many of my fishing trips, and yet I couldn't remember a single time that I had come home from fishing unhappy.

From Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies--- Growing Up With Nature.


Fishing Leads To Love Of Nature, Outdoors

Those of us who love to fish know that it’s about more than the fish. And because it is, fishing leads most of us to a greater love and appreciation for all of nature and the outdoors.

That’s certainly the way it was for me. Some of my earliest memories are of marveling at the beauty of the little sunfish that I caught with the rod and reel combo that I ordered from the back of a comic book.

Then I learned about the sharp spines --- Ouch! --- and slimy skin of bullhead catfish.

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But it wasn’t long before I started noticing what was going on around me as I fished for largemouth bass and any other fish that cared t bite: a water snake sunning itself on a laydown, a softshell turtle laying eggs on a sandbar, a great blue heron spearing one of those little sunfish. Getting up early showed me how beautiful early morning light can be, and staying late introduced me to hoot owls and fireflies--- and mosquitoes.

Decades later, and I still haven’t stopped enjoying and learning from the miracles of nature all around me as I fish.

But it was those early years fishing, camping, hiking, and exploring the great outdoors that led me where I am today --- and taught me so many lessons about life.

Those lessons and the experiences that taught them to me are what I write about in Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies: Growing Up With Nature.  For example, I learned about the importance of being prepared for the unexpected by hooking myself. I learned about the birds and bees from turtles and rats. And I learned that often nature has a sense of humor, as two dozen baby toads that I had put in a cigar box morphed into millions and mounted a massive counter-attack that sent my horrified grandmother scrambling onto the kitchen table.

If you fished and learned to love nature as a child, I think that you’ll enjoy this collection of essays and short stories, both humorous and serious. Also, you might learn something about nature’s mysteries, ranging from snake spit and mermaids to African lions and Ozarks dinosaurs. And, oh yeah, there’s plenty about fish, frogs, and fireflies too.


What You Should Know About Taking Kids Fishing

First, and foremost, the primary goal for a young child going fishing is to have fun--- not catch fish. Some adults have trouble remembering that.

Take them to a pond, lake, or small stream where the panfish are plentiful, and fish with live bait and the simplest of gear, such as a cane pole or spincast outfit. Also take a bucket or two, and maybe some jars with holes in their lids. Don’t try to fish yourself. If you do, you’ll just get frustrated. Your full attention should be on being a teacher.

Remember that most every child will want to keep the first few fish that he or she catches. It’s natural, perhaps that first awakening of the hunter-gatherer imperative that is a part of our species. If the fish aren’t biting, that same instinct will kick in when the child turns attention to catching frogs or crawdads.

Before you respond to a plea to keep the catch, start a conversation about its color, size, beauty, and/or uniqueness. Point out a frog’s webbed feet and its big, flat ears on the sides of its head. Spread a sunfish’s dorsal fin and explain its spines. Hold your hands up vertically by the sides of your face and wave them back and forth as if you are a fishing breathing through gills. It’s okay to be silly. Actually, it’s better to be silly.

Suggest placing the critter in a bucket or jar, without agreeing to take it home. Usually, that will be enough. By the time that you are ready to leave, the novelty will have passed, and you can turn loose the catch without protest. I’d suggest doing so with a little ceremony, maybe waving goodbye as the fish swims or the frog hops away.

If you meet with resistance, explain that the animal will die if taken away from its natural home. Most kids don’t think about that until it is explained to them.

When the time is right, too, keep some of those fish and teach kids how to clean them.

Above all, though, take them fishing.

From Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies: Growing Up With Nature.


Great Gifts For Anglers And Nature Lovers

Click the photo or here to learn more about these books. They make great gifts. If Better Bass Fishing is sold out at Amazon, you can buy it at Barnes & Noble.


Happy Friday! Do Something Good For Yourself This Weekend: Go Fishing!

"We fish to spend time with family and friends. We fish to relax. We fish to compete. We fish to enjoy nature. We fish to remember. We fish to forget. We fish because --- along with our families, our religions, and our jobs --- it completes us."

From Why We Fish: Reel Wisdom From Real fishermen