Kids and Fishing 
By Daniel Kiazyk

Well, the weather pattern had held for a couple of weeks and fish were holding in a very regular pattern. To be very honest fishing had become a bit static – ooh…. I hate to say that, but it’s in a good sense: Fish were in a predictable pattern and as a result fishing was predictable.

Having said the latter I’d come up with an idea that would take on a different twist than I work with on a daily “fishing basis”. My daily fishing routine is to provide services for a fee to those who want to do battle with our trophy fish in Southern Manitoba. However, I wanted to do something different this particular day, something purely for pleasure; Take a kid fishing.

As I sat out in my boat that morning, picking up a few more goldeye, I decided it would be more fun to do this with a nephew who I knew wanted to do some fishing. After about four or five calls later, I was finally able to track Robert down. Kids nowadays are busy or they aren’t. Robert is in the prior group. Robert wasn’t available that day, but he could go on another day, a day where I was free.

Having my nephew lined up for a day, I started to think of what I was going to do on the water with him so as to maximize his fishing experience. As the old adage goes you can lead a horse to water but you really should get him to want to (fish) drink again and again…..

Firstly I wasn’t planning a long day. As a full time teacher, I know how punishing it is to have a kid do something over too long a period of time that may be “boring”. Our day would be no longer than four hours. Not too long. Next I would have to think on the species we would tackle. Well, I had an idea that would fit in with the time period and interest of Robert. Our project was to focus on goldeye.

Why? Well, for starters I thought that a visual fishing approach would be of greater interest than placing a rod in a road holder. Moreover Robert doesn’t really have a lot of experience fishing so a big ol’ cat might be too much for him. I really thought that a bobber going down would also help keep his interest (and if the action picked up he would gain an appreciation for a particularly appealing form of fishing).

Other considerations that I needed to make was to be sure that I had enough food on hand and I also had to have weather protection for my young nephew. Basically I didn’t have much to consider as all parts of his day were covered by material that I would have on hand for any other client eg. safety, tackle, bait etc. But the difficulty was going to be to try to include him in the activity so that he could feel that he was really involved and was really fishing. And there’s always that teacher part in me that was going to think of as many ways that I could think of to teach him some of the important components of our great sport: Sportsmanship, safety, courtesy to shore and other boat anglers, and an appreciation of our great outdoors.

So the day came along, Robert met me at home and we spent a little time looking over our equipment that we’d use for the day. I also asked Rob if he had any “stuff” he wanted to bring along for the day. Rob was quiet and seemed a bit nervous – nothing I did not expect. Kids are always like that at first they aren’t sure but once things get going they open up and have a whole lot of fun. By giving a kid the idea of what we would be using and doing I was hoping that I would reduce the level of stress for him and get him into the mood to go out and do some fishing.

Arriving at the river I implicated Rob in our outing by passing him the bowline and gave him some instructions on what to expect as the boat would leave the trailer. Just holding the boat and leaving him alone to hold a very important piece of equipment was an experience that I wanted him to have. Doing the prior meant that he had a big responsibility and he was able to do it. Once we both got in the boat I discussed some safety issues of being in a boat and how I wanted him to think of his own personal safety. All went well and soon we were moving out to where we would fish that afternoon.

Part of the ritual in my boat is to have all of its occupants capable of carrying out tasks and know where “stuff” is located in the boat. In short order, Rob was able to weigh/lower the anchor on his own. Perhaps this might not seem like a big deal, but for a 13 year old, it means you’re doing something important but it was something necessary to catching fish.

As for the angling, my decision proved to be a good one as we would do quite well with the goldeye that day. Robert really got into watching his bobber go down. It even turned out that we had such a good day that we even went so far as to bet on who would catch the most. I’ll do the latter just to build even more comradery in the boat. However just to see the young fellow hold a fish bait his own hook was a reward in itself. I would have to say that getting a kid out to fish is a really important responsibility for all fishermen. If we could all do it a little more we could protect the incredibly significant right that we have when we fish.

A bit of planning and a bit of time out on the water can make the difference for kid for now and who knows…. for a lifetime.