“Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you’ve fed him for a lifetime.” -Confucius
While Confucius’s ancient wisdom was more likely meant as metaphor than actuality, fishing is indeed a great analogy to use then and now. For thousands of years, man has fished for sustenance, sport, and relaxation. The tradition continues and for good reason. Fish is highly-packed with protein and beneficial Omega fatty acids — not to mention a veritable potpourri of vitamins and minerals, including so-called “brain nutrients” such as vitamin B12, creatine, vitamin D3, carnosine, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). So, eating fish — and lots of it — is good for your body and especially your brain.
In the times of Confucius and his prehistoric predecessors, fishing was most likely done with a bamboo rod or a fishing net — to catch enough to feed the family. Not much has changed in the 21st century. A family can still go out and fish from the shore or in a boat using a more “modern” rod and reel. It is a great way to bond. While no expert, I still enjoyed many summers with my grandfather and father out on the water catching all varieties of fish. Even if I didn’t “land” something impressive, I always had a good time.
Below are some tips to help your weekend of fishing more pleasurable.
1. Buy a fishing license. Every state requires some sort of fishing license and, sometimes, the purchase of an additional trout stamp. In most states, younger children may not require a license as long as they are with an adult who has one. Some states may not charge seniors for licenses or may give deep discounts to the elders.
2. Buy some bait (night crawlers are probably the most common type) and/or make sure your tackle box has the preferred lures. In general, make sure that your box is well-equipped with the proper test line — an indicator of the line’s weight capacity, hooks, sinkers, and of course, get out your fishing rod with a proper reel. (Open bails are the best for most purposes). But, not every rod needs a reel. To this day, anglers still use bamboo rods — sometimes called cane poles — to land their trophy fish or the ones that are good eatin’, or just for catch-and-release.
3. Your little ones may be more inclined to need a bobber as they have not yet developed the ability to feel the fish bite into the hook. Besides, they may enjoy the thrill of watching the bobber in the water. Begin teaching your youngster how to cast their lines using both rod and reel. They will enjoy trying to see how far they can cast a line. At first, let them practice this exercise only while ashore, not while on the boat.
4. Wear life jackets! This point cannot be emphasized enough. Even if you are an experienced swimmer on a small inland lake or a few miles offshore, having fun while preventing unnecessary accidents on the water is important.
So, go out there and have fun. Fishing is one of those activities that are meant to be shared. Bring along your friends and family for a weekend of enjoyment on the water or from the shore. Either way, amateurs and seasoned anglers will gain years on their lives by practicing this relaxing, oft-exciting activity.