When I was just a little whipper-snapper dad took me fishing
whenever he went. We fished for perch through the ice on
Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron, Michigan in the winter every year.
Trolling for walley at night on Silver Lake, Traverse city,
Michigan on those warm summer nights was an experience I will
never forget. Trips to Canada for trout happened too, great
times for the family. Mom, dad and little Jimmy. Wonderful
memories, terrific times and a solid education in the outdoors
and the ethics and responsibilities that went with it.
There was no preaching involved, none of the 'words of wisdom'
like in the River Runs Through It' stuff. Just lived it
the right way. Dad showing how; me paying attention. Respect
I learned to use a bait-caster on Silver Lake in the summers
mostly by myself. Row-boat or later on a 14 foot Thompson with
a 2.5 Johnson kicking my little butt all over the lake searching
for Lilly pads and bucket-mouth bass. The days of unbridled
youth spent either on the water or in it. Learned to swim
early and turned that into a summer job as life guard for
Somewhere along there I grew old enough to need licenses.
Hunting and fishing licenses. The teen years and puberty
hit all at once; I was growing up. With it came even more
responsibility. And with that responsibility came a bit of
pride. Pride that I had made it. Made another plateau in
my life and now I belonged to yet another group. A section
of the sportsmen who needed licenses and were expected to
conform to all of the things they required.
It was not so much that the carefree days of youth were gone,
but that the more grown-up days of young adult had arrived.
I remember buying my licenses. The sporting goods store,
Bay City Hardware for a few years, then Breen's Sporting
Goods in later years. I never, never once thought of the
price as being a bad thing. The cost was simply that. The
cost of another year's license. My responsibility. In fact
if I screwed up in the field I could lose my license. That
would be one of the most terrible things I could possibly
I am reminded of all of this because of a few posts on the
Bulletin Board lately about a state out east is thinking of
asking that kids from I guess 11 to 15 be required to have
licenses. And a stink and howl has risen. Perhaps with good
reasons. Maybe the monies will be wasted, skimmed off, diverted
to the general fund or whatever. We elect guys to manage those
dollars and I guess mostly they do as good a job as can be
Why we think they will mis-manage the bucks from kids licenses
I do not know. I can not for a minute believe that the cost of
a license will keep one single kid from fishing. Not one. What
father will say I am not going to take my kid fishing, his
license costs too much?
So I guess I am going to say I am from a different camp on this
one. A license can build a sense of responsibility in a youth
and when is a better time to teach that then when he is in his
youth? In fact, I still kind of like the annual event of getting
my licenses. ~ JC