Is fishing just for old guys? You would think so from license sales – although the number of licenses sold stays about the same each year, the average age of a purchaser gets older. The “typical” fisherman is now between 52-70 years of age. Boating follows a similar trend.
That’s bad news, because if more young people don’t discover the joys and benefits of boating and fishing, our future could look pretty grim.
What’s happening? More people live in cities. More kids come from families of ethnic, cultural or economic backgrounds that provide no exposure to the outdoors. Kids have other options – TV, videogames, and smart phones.
As individuals we can’t do much about some of those things, but we can each sure get out and do something to introduce children to boating and fishing.
Think about the life lessons that fishing and boating can teach.
One video game company operates by what they call the “Starbuck’s Rule.” They assume that if a player can’t start and finish a game on a smart phone in the minute or so that it takes to go through a Starbucks line, they’ll lose interest and quit.
How important a lesson is it to learn that you don’t quit just because something isn’t easy and quick? That it usually takes patience, effort and determination to succeed? Fishing and boating can teach the value of patience and the rewards of hard work.
Just how are you going to catch that fish, under these particular circumstances? What lure, what technique, and when? What is it going to take to get your boat on the water, to the destination and back, maybe under tough conditions? Life is about solving problems, and being on the water can teach those skills.
Outdoor activities involve risk. You stay safe by being smart, knowing the rules, and using common sense. Learning to be safe in the outdoors builds confident and skills that can be applied in all walks of life. Every kid should learn those lessons.
In the outdoors you learn to take care of yourself. You want to catch a fish, do it yourself. You’ll have to drive your own boat – safely, smartly and efficiently. Boating and fishing are a great way to teach young people that ultimately they can and should trust and rely on themselves – you can’t always expect someone else to take care of you.
Love of the Outdoors
To really appreciate and value nature you have to experience it, get out there and be a part of it. Fishing and boating are two of the best ways to do that. When you teach a child about fishing – why you keep a fish to eat, or why you release a fish, why it’s wrong to waste or be greedy – then you are teaching the essential principles of conservation that are vital to our future.
There are so many good reasons to introduce young people to the benefits of boating and fishing. Do you know a child that you can take out? Perhaps a friend has young children? Is there a teen or young adult that you can invite? It’s important that we each do our part; because the future of the activities we love so much depends upon it.