Teaching the Next Generation


With fish being deep and hard to find currently, sometimes I like to be reminded of the bigger picture. My buddy Steve took his young son out for his first fishing trip recently and while they didn't catch any fish, the pictures tell an important story.

Most of us would agree that in order for our sport to continue to thrive in the future, the up-and-comers need to be taught from an early age the joys of fishing as well as the protection and conservation of it. Starting them out early is always a good way to go.

While I don't remember my first trip with my parents, it's safe to say, I was less than two years old since my dad is a very avid fisherman. I can vaguely recall my brother and sister's first trips as they were marked on a baby's first things calendar, though it was safe to say, that the first trips were handwritten since no calendars in the 1980s had special fishing stickers that I was aware of.

Early exposure to the outdoors can lead to a greater appreciation for our natural resources later in life and the desire to pass on our knowledge to the next generation, and there are so many ways to this.

We can volunteer to take groups of kids out, teach seminars, or just promote the sport in general. One advantage of social media is it gives us access to so many inspirational stories, articles, and photos to show just how much fun fishing is as well as how precious of a resource it is.

It is also a very vulnerable resource which without proper education, could see the loss of habitat, stronger gene pools, or access to locations. Catch-and-release is preached everywhere these days as a way to protect our fishing way of life to guarantee the strongest fish survive to pass on their traits to the next batch of fish.

But that doesn't mean we can't keep fish, which can be lost in the message. Fish are a great tasting and healthy source of food and we don't want to deny anyone their chance at a good meal, but over-harvesting can destroy fish populations. Selective harvesting is a personal choice that can give you a good meal while ensuring that you will be able to find and catch fish for years to come.

On top of this, studies have shown that people who enjoy the outdoors and participate in recreational activities are less likely to get into trouble with the law. To not lose our access to fishing, hunting, or any outdoor activity is a great incentive to keep our noses clean and respect our parents, mentors, and officers.

Mentoring kids is a great way to encourage them to stay out of trouble and enjoy the freedom they have to go out in the outdoors. We don't want to know what it's like to lose this freedom and we want to make darn sure they don't want to lose it as well.

While these pictures are absolutely adorable, they also carry an important message. Teach them young and you can be proud that they will grow into responsible outdoorsmen and women who want to ensure that their future kids can enjoy the same joys that you do at this very moment and they will always have something fun to look forward to and an incentive to stay out of trouble with. It certainly seems to have worked for most of us. Teach others to enjoy and respect the outdoors and we'll have a great future of fishing ahead of us!

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