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Dichotomy


Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

You can tell that the shack nasties have hit hard when I am watching fishing shows on the television. It actually started about the beginning of January. I had a couple of magazines to read and there were some fishing shows to watch. The dumb assumption is that this makes your not fishing yourself better. It certainly does not work that way for me.

What I noticed then, and what I watched for several more weeks to see if the trend stopped or changed any, is that there is a great deal of difference between what the fishing shows show and what some of the advertisements on TV and in the magazines promote. How do we promote "Take a kid fishing" with what is seen on the tube?

First the fishing shows. What I saw was high-end equipment being used to catch fish out of boats that cost as much or more than some cars do. It is not the type of fishing that I see most parents taking their kids out to do. Most parents will take a kid out to a local lake or pond and let them throw in a line. Many of the parents will have no more idea of what to do than that.

The TV shows the kids can watch have people out on large bodies of water with all sort of electronic equipment that you "must have" to catch a fish. Also how many of the shows do you see with people fishing for bluegills or crappie? These panfish are not the money or glamour fish that some of the other fish are.

Second are the magazines that have the advertisements in them. Some are for equipment, but others are the "Take a Kid fishing" kind. Many of the articles are for places that parents are not going to take their kids. Again where is the inducement for parents to take their kids out to a pond? There is rarely any information in the magazines on how to fish from shore or what to do in small bodies of water.

Can we be surprised that the number of people that are fishing is on the decline? For many it seems to be an impossible thing to take their kids fishing. They don't have a boat, with the electronics, and they are not near a famous body of water. That is what the shows and the magazines give them.

How many kids will have the experience of catching a bluegill as their first fish? I am not sure that we want the PE classes in schools, although not bad in themselves, to be the only exposure to fishing. I am not sure that the idea of competitive fishing, i.e. the bass thing, in schools will be good in the long run.

How do we get people to take their kids to city lakes and farm ponds or small streams to get exposed to the idea of fishing? I am not sure that I have an answer for this, but I am sure that what the kids are being exposed to is not going to help with the growth of the fishing population.

When kids go out fishing with me we always start with some casting from the shore.

I want them to know that they can control the direction the lure is flying. It is not unusual for them to catch a fish from the shore. This proves to them that they do not have to be in a boat or have any fancy equipment to catch a fish.

I do not expect the TV shows to change or for a great change in the magazines. I am still a bit bum foozled by the dichotomy I see between the two things.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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