Outdoor Writers Association of America
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

October 30th, 2000

A Legacy

I wasn't the greatest mother in the world. I don't recall any of my daughters ever presenting me with the trophy cup on Mother's Day. Like most parents I did the best I could with what I knew at the time. Was it as Judge Judy says "perfect!" ? - hardly.

But I did some things right. I introduced my children to the outdoors. Yes, fly fishing was included. But so was gathering and saving fall leaves, making plaster casts of animal tracks, making and flying kites, Brownies and Girl Scouts. Exposure to books and music was part of it too - but to me, many years later, of all the parenting stuff, the outdoors is the most lasting.

This website is about encouraging people to fly fish. To learn, improve their skills and open their minds to the many options available. Is there any fish one couldn't fish for with a fly rod? (We could get a bit extreme on that, our friend Mike Croft tried to catch an Orca Whale with an euphasid pattern.) But in reality, we do try to get folks to fish for what they have locally. It's about the fishing, not which is the 'elite' species!

Over the winter, we will add a new section to Fly Anglers OnLine. It will address getting kids into fly fishing. Part of that as it is scheduled now, will be information on spin fishing with a bubble and a fly. For many this will enable them to get kids interested without the additional cost of new equipment - which even at some of the very reasonable prices now - can be a real burden on a family budget. And frankly, most small kids don't have the physical strength or co-ordination to cast a fly rod. So here is a way to get them fishing - and catching!

We also hope to have an accompanying series of articles on introducing kids to fly rod fishing. That one is still in the works, but it's looking good.

A neat comment came in as a response to Castwell's article last week The reader said he faced real difficulties getting his son interested in fly fishing since the boy would rather be with his peers. He solved the problem by taking the son's friends with him too! He put eight of his son's friends through hunter safety classes as well. The neat part is the 'friends' now call him to go hunting and fishing. What a neat legacy.

What is yours? Have you taken a kid fishing? How did it work out? What was successful? What didn't work?

Castwell's approach was we need the young people involved since they will be the ones who inherit the job of protecting the environment and fisheries. If they are outdoors people they will at least have a clue, and may vote appropriately in the future.

My approach is different (though I agree with him). There certainly are a lot of 'entertainment' choices for kids - but I see very little which does anything for their mind or inner person. Fly fishing is more than an escape from our daily duties, (although many never progress beyond it being an escape from) it is a special part of our lives which is a go to! Look at all the aspects of fly fishing. It's learning, planning, preparation, anticipation and putting together the parts to make a successful event. Each outing is an adventure! Isn't this a model for life? How to succeed? Getting gratification from your direct actions? Being responsible for those actions?

I would really like your views on this. I've started a topic on the Bulletin Board, and I invite and encourage you share your experiences with teaching kids how to fish. What you did, what happened, your advice and opinions.

Maybe we can leave a real legacy to the kids! It's not about money - this one is for the mind and soul. ~ LadyFisher

If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!

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