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Today is August 12, 2020

Fishing with kids

By Scott Lemmons

Fishing with kids

I started fishing as soon as I was old enough to hold a cane pole. It was a tradition that my father handed down to me, and it’s one that I’m passing down to my children. My earliest memories were bream fishing with my dad in the pond next to our house, and it sparked a passion for the outdoors that I have turned into a career as a conservationist with The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi.

I began introducing my girls (Vicki, 14 and Leah, 7) to fishing when they were toddlers. I focused their early efforts on easier methods of fishing that produced fast results such as taking them fishing when the bream were bedding so there would be lots of action which held their attention. As they grew a little older, I began taking them with me jug fishing. Kids love seeing a catfish pull a bouncing jug around and watching them try to grab a jug as the fish tries to swim away with it turned into a game for all of us. They absolutely loved it and they beg me to take them jugging now. An additional lesson is that they understand where a major part of our diet comes from as we eat fish on a weekly basis.

The most important aspect of enjoying fishing is that we spend quality time together doing something that we all enjoy. Kids today have so much exposure to social media, video games, etc. that it gives them the opportunity to unplug and enjoy nature. I know from my own experience that when I was a teenager that fishing likely kept me from getting into lots of trouble. I hope that history repeats itself!

As a conservationist, I know it is important to teach children early about the importance of taking care of our land and water.

As the director of freshwater programs at The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi, the conservation work we implement along the Mississippi River and Gulf Coast provides benefits to the very fish species that lured me into this world many years ago.

If you are planning to introduce fishing to your children, remember to start out with basics such as a cane pole. Focus your efforts on a fish species that provides lots of action so kids can interact with nature quickly. They will get a lot more enjoyment out of it that way. As their skill level improves, move kids up to a rod and reel and let them begin casting. They will get the hang of it quickly and then let them progress at their own pace. You will find that children enjoy the time spent with you as much as catching fish. Passing along this tradition has provided both me and my children some of the happiest memories of our lives. Now go fish!

 

Scott Lemmons is the director of freshwater programs at The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi.

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