The truth about teaching kids to fish


Left to right:  Tink follows Dad into the great unknown,…

Fishing is a lot like playing music, just because you can do it doesn’t mean you can teach anybody else to.  But since in the final analysis, we teach ourselves, other folks just help us learn how to do that, I have some observations here I hope you’ll find helpful.


Rule #1:  You’re gonna get wet.

Put kids and water in the same general vicinity and wetness invariably ensues.  When you are teaching them to fish however, this is not limited to just them,… you’re included as well.  If kids are going to fall in, they’ll do so when you are standing in the most precarious spot of the day, and take you with ’em. 


Rule #2:  Hooks are sharp.

Think about it, what you’re doing here is handing a kid a long stick with some string and a sharp object at the end that you’re asking him to whip around in the air and accurately land on a prescribed target.  (It’s not lost on me that knights used to carry around bigger versions of a similar set up, and tried to knock other knights off horses with them.)  This won’t knock you off your feet, but it will send you wading into hairy places, have you climbing trees, and venture into any other difficult or dangerous place to retrieve them so your child can continue to do the same thing.  


Rue #3:  Fish bite when they’re damned well good and ready.

No amount of coaxing, swearing, or praying will induce a fish to bite, I know this…I’ve tried all three.  The attention span of a kid when fishing is slow can be timed with a stopwatch, and the lack of action will  generally be perceived as your fault.


Rule # 4:  There’s no such thing as “Enough fish.”

Even when fish are committing mass Hari Kari, and throwing themselves onto kids hooks with the kind of reckless abandon usually reserved for lemmings, the question will come, “Dad, where else can we go now?”


Rule #5:  There is a silver lining.

At the end of the day when you’re sitting in front of the fire with the band aid box, Absorbine Jr. bottle, and probably a bottle of something else, and the mental picture of that time earlier in the day when your child laid down the perfect cast, got the perfect drift, and took that 16″ Rainbow with a smile that lit up the whole county, then had the class to release it,…  if that doesn’t make all the rest of it worth it,… check your pulse.

About adkchrisshaw

Adirondack singer, songwriter, and storyteller
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4 Responses to The truth about teaching kids to fish

  1. paul says:

    chris you will have to write a book of wisdom
    Loved It

  2. Kevin says:

    Great piece of writing Sir. I have some fond memories of your Dad teaching you and I to fish …… now I realize how much patience he must have had.

  3. John says:

    Nice writing Chris! If memory serves, learning how to fish from my dad in – salt water – was not a whole lot different. I managed to fall in at least twice a year.

  4. Scott says:

    Ahh, you caught the experience!! Although for me there needs to be a section on attempting (mostly unsuccessful) to supress the profanity. Very funny!!

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