October 28th, 2002

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .

Wishin' To Go Fishin'

"Children Need Fishing And Fishing Needs Children."
By Barry Shrader

The fondest memories of my life are recorded in my childhood summers. Each morning at 5 o'clock my Grandfather would roust me from the welcome confines of a feather bed, and he would be in a hurry to go fishing. By the time I made it to the kitchen, "PaPa" would have our coffee poured for us and although I was only five or six years old, I drank coffee just like my "PaPa". We would use two cups to drink our coffee; pouring the coffee from cup to cup cooling it which made it easier and quicker to drink. Therefore, we were saving precious moments drinking coffee, moments that could be better spent on the fishing bank.

My best memories are those of standing on the bank next to my grandfather with our rod and reel in hand. Little did I know it at the time, but my grandfather was giving me the greatest gift he would ever give. It has become a gift that has lasted a lifetime. "PaPa" gave me the gift of fishing.

Now that I am a grandfather three times over I feel like I have come full circle in my fishing life. I now want to give the wonderful gift of fishing to my grandchildren and extend the giving to children that might not ever have the opportunity to discover fishing. This is the motivation behind the Wishing To Go Fishing Program.

Children need fishing.

When we teach children to fish we open pathways that children can explore therefore discovering that there is more to fishing than fishing. Fishing is a place; a place we can go with a friend, friends, or family. Fishing is a place that we can go in solitude but still not be alone. Fishing is a place where we can share the homes, refuge, and sanctuaries of the community of wildlife. Fishing is a place that we can listen and hear the gentle roar of a river, the rustle of leaves, the cry of the coyote, or the subtle slash of a rising trout.

Children need fishing because it will instill a greater sense and appreciation of nature and life. Children need fishing because time spent fishing is preferable to time spent idly. Time spent idly by children affords too many opportunities for children to wonder what the entire mystique about drugs is. Today's children are faced with drive-by shootings, gang-bangers, meth labs, abductions, and terrorism.

Although fishing cannot solve these problems fishing can serve as a wonderful alternative, a choice or avenue for children to take. Yes, children need fishing.

Fishing needs children!

I recently read an article that stated that fishing as a sport is currently on the decline. If this is indeed true then this trend needs to be reversed.

If twenty years from now we have fewer fishers then we will have fewer stewards of nature, fewer trustees of the environment, fewer wardens of the community of wildlife, and fewer voices in the chorus protecting and preserving our natural resources and great outdoors. Fishing needs children.

There currently are some wonderful organizations that are dedicated to introducing children to fishing. Organizations such as Take A Kid Fishing, Water Works Wonders, and the Future Fishermen Foundation are working toward the goal of creating new fishers in the children of today.

When I created my program, Wishing To Go Fishing I knew it would never become a national organization nor did I wish it to be so. My goal is to keep it on a local and area basis trying to create future fishers here at home. My greatest hope for this program is two fold. First, that the program will make a difference in children's lives and secondly that fishermen and women will use my program as an initative and example to create similar programs in their communtities. If enough people follow the example set by Wishing To Go Fishing then the future of fishing and the future of children will naturally follow.

It is my hope that thousands of programs introducing children to fishing will begin today. It's a good thing to do.

Good luck! ~ Barry Shrader

About Barry Shrader:

Barry Shrader, also known as the Fly Fishing Cowboy, is an avid fisherman from southern Oklahoma. His fishing life includes all types of fishing but his true love is fly fishing. He is owner of the Old West Fly Shop in Reagan, Oklahoma near the beautiful Blue River. Barry also writes a weekly fishing column and is creator of the "Wishing To Go Fishing" program. For information on how you can start your own program, go to www.getawayok.com/getawayok062.htm


Archive of Readers Casts

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ]

FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice