Fish for free during National Fishing and Boating Week
If you haven’t been fishing in a while and would like to give it a try, this week would be a great time to go. It’s National Fishing and Boating week and most states offer a day or two of free fishing for those who haven’t purchased a license. Free fishing days allow you to fish without a license, though state fishing regulations and limits apply. So grab a rod and some tackle and get out and enjoy a beautiful day on a waterway near you. Also, it would be a wonderful time to take children and introduce them to the outdoors. According to the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF), the average child spends 35 hours a week in front of the television, and less than 25 percent of school-aged children participate in some form of daily physical activity. RBFF research has shown that fishing is a top “gateway” activity, spurring involvement in other outdoor interests, which may lead to an active, healthy lifestyle. So grab the kids, schedule a day when you won’t need a fishing license, and get outside for a day of fun.
If you don’t know how to get set up so the youngsters can catch a few fish, let me offer some suggestions. You can buy a basic spincasting combo (rod & reel) for between $15.00 and $30.00 that is already filled with line and ready to use. Add a few long-shanked panfish hooks, split-shot sinkers, and small bobbers and you’ll have a child well-equipped for bluegills and other panfish. Place a bobber on the line two- to three-feet above the hook and sinker and you’re ready to fish. Pieces of red worms, nightcrawlers, even bread will catch bluegills but if you want to get serious about catching a bunch of fish, buy a cricket tube and find a place you can buy crickets. It’s a little more expense, but crickets are top baits for all bream and my first choice when taking a child on a first time fishing trip.
If you’re an avid angler, it would be an equally good time to introduce a child to our sport. Some of my fondest fishing memories are of times I shared on the water with a youngster. But again, let me offer some advice based on my experience. Many children have short attention spans so the right mind set is; you’re not going fishing, you’re going on a field trip with some fishing mixed in. When a child’s focus moves from casting or catching fish to rock skipping or deer tracks along the shore follow along and make the whole experience fun. Looking for old bird’s nests, flipping rocks for crawfish, searching for animal tracks and other seeming little things have made my days afield with a small child more memorable and fun. Remember, you’re not going fishing, you’re going teaching.
Some youngsters are as hooked on fishing as many adults. If there’s a child in your life who’s shown a genuine interest in fishing and the outdoors, encourage and support them. It’s a healthy activity that provides fresh air, exercise and builds respect and appreciation for our natural resources. At my first book signing event in West Virginia, a gentleman brought his twelve year old son to meet me and buy one of my books. We talked about fishing for a while and I quickly realized this young man loved to fish. Furthermore, I was impressed by his knowledge and some of the fishing experiences he described. Since that first meeting, he’s shared several more of his fishing experiences through Email. Let me share the latest from my new fishing buddy, Noah Rhine, from Bridgeport, WV:
“Today was the best day of fishing of my life! Me, my brother, and his friend caught 21 total bass. I mainly caught my bass because I read in your book today about how to set the hook properly. I caught all of mine on a Texas-rigged Senko in a milky white color with gold/black flakes. Our average size bass was 13 inches, with the pictured bass being 16 inches and our biggest. He caught the biggest bass off of a Senko in a red with silver flakes. We used the 4 inch size. We caught our bass out of two ponds that were side by side. Thanks for the tips in the book, and good fishing to you!”
You can just about hear the excitement in his voice. Congratulations Noah and thank you for allowing me to share your report. Keep up the good work and good fishing to you too!
So if you haven’t been fishing in a while, it won’t cost you the price of a fishing license to get out and wet a line this week. And if you have children in your life who have shown an interest, pack some snacks, a dash of patience and some basic tackle and head for the water. You may get hooked on fishing in a new and rewarding way.