The Future of Fishing
By: Mark Romanack
It’s hard to deny the joy in this smile. Fishing is fun, it’s exciting and it’s easy to share with others.
It’s a phrase we have all heard one thousand times: “Take a Kid Fishing”. I believe everyone who enjoys fishing gets the need to carry on our fishing traditions with younger generations. The problem is that “life” gets in the way and often we talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.
THIS YEAR IS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT
The best fishing of the year is upon us. What better time than right now to make plans to get a deserving kid out on the water? Don’t have a kid? No problem, who among us doesn’t know a young person who would enjoy a fishing adventure?
YOUTH FISHING LICENSES
A growing number of states are offering “voluntary” youth fishing licenses. The money raised through the sale of a youth fishing license is important for fisheries management, but more importantly that license sale counts for federal match grants such as Dingle Johnson money spent in respective states.
The more youth licenses a state sells, the more federal grant money flows into that state. So buying a youth fishing license serves a number of purposes. One it helps teach kids that they are stewards of our fishing resources. Secondly, it shows a need for personal responsibility in terms of protecting those resources. Thirdly, important funds that funnel directly into fisheries management efforts are achieved and finally, the money raised is matched by federal grants further enhancing the management achievements. I call that a win, win, win, win situation.
This picture from the Romanack family archives pretty much says it all. Kids that are provided an opportunity to go fishing become life long fans of the sport. Fishing is just one of those rare activities that everyone seems to enjoy. I’ve yet to see anyone who isn’t smiling when a fish is tugging on the other end of their fishing line.
Those among us who fish tournaments routinely have a golden opportunity to share their knowledge of fishing with a young person. Time spent pre-fishing is the perfect time to invite a young angler along. Who knows, maybe having an extra stick or two in the boat will be the difference between an average or an exceptional tournament.
Charter captains are on the water every day. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for fun fishing. The next time one of your charters is a body or two short of that six pack group, offer your customers the chance to bring a kid along for free. If your group doesn’t have a kid they can bring, maybe they would allow the captain to designate a kid for the ride along?
A lot of anglers fit into the “weekend warrior” category. Anglers who work hard all week long so they can enjoy a day or two on the water make up the majority of fishermen in America. Admittedly, the working man doesn’t get a lot of those perfect weekends when the fish are biting and the weather is great. Just for a minute image the sense of satisfaction achieved by taking along a young person and sharing the fishing experience.
SUPPORT YOUTH EVENTS
Maybe you don’t have a boat or the time to take a kid fishing. Maybe you could make a difference by supporting a fishing club or other organization that sponsors annual kids fishing events? A little money goes a long ways when folks come together for a good cause.
Most fishing clubs have youth events. Joining that club and designating a donation towards those youth events is a grass roots way of being part of the solution, instead of being part of the problem.
Nick and Ari DeShano know the feeling of satisfaction that comes from spending time together in a fishing boat.
So you’re concerned the fishing won’t be good. Every fisherman has been there and knows what it feels like to work hard at fishing only to see little or no reward. Don’t forget that spending time with a young person on the water isn’t just about catching fish. It’s also about spending time together. It’s about the conversation in the boat, it’s about the laughs shared, it’s about stopping on the way home for a bite to eat. The fishing experience is a lot more than just getting that string stretched.
MAKE IT HAPPEN
We all have a million excuses for why we don’t practice what we preach. This year make a difference and make time to help a young person discover the joys of fishing.