Since our last Newsletter our youngest daughter gave birth to a very beautiful and healthy baby girl – her 3rd girl and our 8th grandchild.
No doubt someday I will be asked to take little Audrey (that’s the new one’s name) out and teach her to fish. After all, American Legacy is a fishing gear dealer and who better than ole’ grandpa to teach his youngest granddaughter how to fish. And you can bet I would never refuse such a generous offer. We taught our three daughters to fish as well most of the grandkids when they were old enough. It’s one of the greatest pleasures as well as frustrations you will experience.
Now having 8 grandkids you would probably guess that we have a bit of experience in teaching kids to fish. You would be right. We do. And as senior citizens who may not always be right but are never in doubt let me give all of you some advice about “fishing school” for kids.
First, kids are not miniature adults. They’re kids. From the day they are born they are working on earning their adult wings. Experience, situations, interactions, disappointments, and everything else will contribute to just who and what they are when they finally make it to their graduation party for “adulthood”. Some kids never grow up and some never seem to have been given the chance to be kids at all, having parents who assumed they had that miniature adult from the day they brought the kid home from the hospital.
Dixie and I were lucky in this regard. We had our first baby very young. So young as a matter of fact that we hadn’t even earned our own adult wings – at least that’s my take on it. There we were in our little apartment, 3 kids. Two in their teens and a newborn. All trying to figure it out. But we had love and, at that age, tons of patience. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. It was great. But some parents just don’t get it. They insist that even little babies are miniature adults. Not good. And so wrong.
Certainly one of life’s greatest joys is watching that baby grow into an adult, knowing that during the entire journey you made good decisions, had great patience, were tolerant, and always believed that they would turn out just fine. I think that last one is called “trust”. Which reminds me…..
Ooops. Back to teaching kids how to fish. Universal rule: the younger the child the shorter the attention span. This is chiseled in stone. The only exception would be when they get a fish on the line which will stretch their attention span a couple of minutes beyond where it would normally have terminated. And should your guiding skills be wanting then please keep this in mind: No fish – no attention.
Personally I believe you can’t begin teaching kids to fishing too early, as much to instill in them a deep seeded desire to want to, yes, even need to, fish. Gently tucked into their subconscious to be called upon later. Age 2 or 3, no problem as long as you recognize their attention span will be measured in milliseconds. 5 or 6 seems a better age to “seed” this desire. The more fish you catch and the faster you catch them the longer this session can last and the deeper the impression will be.
Fish not biting? Pack it in and head for the barn. Try again when they are. Otherwise you may do more harm than good and find you have created a youngster who “just isn’t into fishing.” And that’s not good. After all, it’s really not about fishing – it’s about Catching! If all you do is throw some line around that sticks out of the pole with a hook on the end and that’s it, well almost anyone would say that’s not exactly a heart stopping thrill. But put a fish on the end of that line, an unexpected fish to be sure, and the game changes. Now that is fun!
Assuming you have succeeded and your student caught a fish or two then you’re on your way instilling a wonderful love of fishing in that special youngster for life. That and the thrill and appreciation of the great outdoors. Now it’s time to work on techniques and rudimentary equipment. Reel, rod, casting, fish hooking and fighting, water safety, stuff like that.
First, get a spin casting reel that will a) work, b) isn’t too big, c) is simple to operate, and d) has some new, decent, correctly sized and installed line on it. Next, get a rod for that reel. Look for something 5 ft. to 5 1/2 ft. long. Try not to go any shorter than this. This length rod allows even the clumsiest kid to get off a few casts. It’s also short enough/long enough to usually avoid hook sets in human flesh – yours or the student’s.
Now remember, it’s about catching, not just fishing. That’s important. Very important and I’m going to assume you have that as mission No. 1. Every time a beginner goes out it’s imperative that he/she catches some fish. No fish? No interest.
Once your student gets the hang of that spin cast reel get them casting at targets, throwing different size and type baits, retrieving at different speeds, or anything else that will challenge their skills. And always remember it’s about catching. Then when they’re getting real comfortable with that spin cast outfit get them an open face spinning reel and rod.
With any open face spinning reel you need to make sure there is an anti-reverse lever or button since, as we pointed out, kid’s attention spans are fairly short. This will prevent back winding the spool and the inevitable line “wad” that results. Also, make sure the spool cap/drag adjustment is screwed down enough that the spool won’t fall off. This may seem elemental, but trust me, it’s important. My oldest grandson can attest to that!
Once you’ve got that youngster into a spinning reel then all you need do is match the rod to his/her skill set, longer rods being a better choice as their skills get better. After this it’s just a matter of catching (remember?) and making sure you get out as often as possible.
Casting reels and rods? Sure, they’re on the to do list, but we recommend they come later, after the student has mastered that open face spinning reel. And when it’s time for a casting reel, which you will know by instinct, for goodness sakes get one that has a mag brake system. Once a pricy option, casting reels with mag brakes are quite reasonable today. Prices of around $50 are not uncommon. Best of all, when you’re at this point you already have a student who is hooked on fishing – for life!
Finally, keep in mind everyone here at American Legacy Fishing is dedicated to helping you take a kid fishing. If there is anything we can do to assist you in such an endeavor all you need do is ask us. It is truly our greatest pleasure! And I can tell you, it doesn’t get much better than fishing with a kid!
This will be our last full Newsletter for 2012. With that in mind we decided to pull out all the stops this issue with some fantastic deals! We’re offering Free USA Shipping again until December 20, 2012 – really the last day we can ship and get your gifts to most of you by Christmas (use the discounted 2nd Day Air shipping option if you have any doubts). Discounted International Shipping as well. See all the details below.
Until Midnight today we’re still offering a Free $10 ALFC gift card with any order of $20 or more. Don’t miss this Great offer! Details are below. We also have added some items to our American Legacy Gift Guide that just arrived. Even if you’ve had a look at the Gift Guide before be sure to take another look. Really good stuff!
The New Wild River Tackle Bags and Accessories are literally flying off the shelves as are the new Kenny Chesney Costa Sunglasses kits. We’ve still got stock, but it’s going fast. See below. You have until December 31, 2012 (New Year’s Eve) to take advantage of Abu Garcia’s Free Sweatshirt Offer. Don’t miss this one. Details below.
Finally, we have some fabulous New Rods that any fisherman would just love. The new Shimano Cumara rods and the four series of Dobyns rods are super rods and right now we have every model in stock. If you’re a serious fisherman or know someone who is these great rods deserve a thorough look-see. All the info is below.
This has been a fantastic year for all of us at American Legacy Fishing Company and it’s all because of you. Great friends and customers. Thank you from all of us for making 2012 a wonderful year. We hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas filled with love, family, friends, and warmth. May God bless each and every one of you.