We've spent a ton of time shore-side over the last year or so! As our family has taken more and more steps to prioritize outdoor adventure in our lives, we've been fortunate to log quite a large number of hours with a pole in our hands and a meaningful conversation in the air. It's amazing to me to see our boys grow up and spend their time thoughtfully, intentionally, developing new skills like fishing and boating.
The kids have learned a lot from these experiences, and Nate and I have learned a lot from them in turn.
Our friends at Take Me FishingTM asked us to weigh in on some of our favorite tackle-inspired lessons, and we thought it would be really fun to have the kids share their own thoughts. Their young minds are gleaning important new perspective every single day. While I tend to focus on details and timing, their insights have been real lessons that will stick with them for life.
Here – according to them – is what our kids have learned from fishing.
Mind the hook! The first time we showed him a fishing pole, Sidekick immediately noticed the “pointy thing” at the end of his line. Being 4 years old, he promptly freaked out and it took a little prodding to get him anywhere near the dang thing. These kids, man, they have some pretty intuitive smarts once in awhile. We showed him how to take care and only hook his intended fish as opposed to…himself. He learned a valuable lesson in the process: always look up, look out, and be aware of your surroundings.
It's okay to get wet. Our kids' personalities are all very different, and it's so fascinating to watch how they respond to new situations. The oldest is a calculating type, seeking information and reasoning to assess whatever is unfamiliar. The middle is a charming sort who seeks the path-of-least-resistance, generally quick to walk away at the first sign of discomfort. And then there's the baby, our big bundle of love who barrels his way through anything and everything. He's not much for maneuvering a pole, but anytime we're at a stream or a lake he reminds us of the go-getter attitude that's necessary to succeed in this particular skill and in this world. You gotta get out of your comfort zone to live your best life (and get the best catch)!
Fish don't all measure up. Life – and your pole – may not hand you what you expected. That's okay. Keep trying.
Don't cross lines. This is one thing I really, really love about the fishing community. They're not afraid to have a word with your kid if he's going against the grain or getting in the way. Fishing, much like family, is a very community-oriented sport with people spreading unique knowledge and local learnings along the way. To me, that's as it should be. Anything worthwhile in this life tends to take a village. So do your best to position yourself well, but be considerate of other people. If you play your cards right, they might even share their catch over the campfire.
Right bait, right fish. Be prepared! We learned on our charter boat that you don't use the same poles for deep-sea fishing that you use for streams, and the same goes for bait variation for ocean fish versus freshwater fish.
What has fishing taught your family?