Young Guns: Schooling new fishermen requires patience and volunteer mentors

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We are on the cusp of another Texas summer and the school is out for thousands of young people in search of something fun to do. If you are a family boy with a couple of kids to entertain, or a single mom who wants to lead a boy or girl in a positive direction, there may not be a better way to fill the bill than to spend a day or a day. weekend wetting a Line in a lake, pond, river or Texas creek.

Fishing is a great sport that the whole family can enjoy. Clean and healthy, it's also a fun way to spend a lazy summer afternoon, especially when the fish sting.

A report from the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation indicates that a lot of people are recovering from the message.

The report shows that more than 49 million Americans went fishing in 2018. It is the highest total since 1991, including 3 million who fished for the first time. Hispanic participation also reached a historic high of 4.2 million.

Fishing is not just a man thing, either. The RBFF report shows that 17.1 million females caught in 2018 and accounted for 45 percent of the new sport recruits.

It is even more encouraging to see more young people tied up. The participation of young people in fisheries has increased steadily since 2010. The report says that almost 12 million children have been wet in a row in the United States last year.

The RBFF closely monitors the pulse of recreational fishing and participation in boats throughout the United States.

The non-profit organization was formed in 1998 and has since established key partnerships with industry leaders and many state agencies such as the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife with the common goal of attracting new recruits to the water.

They expect participation to increase to 60 million throughout the country by 2021.

Reaching beginners

The most successful disclosure program of RBFF is The popular website contains a wealth of useful information about different species of fish, tying, releasing and releasing, and fishing with artificial and live bait.

There are also links dedicated to fisherwomen, state licensing requirements, free fishing events and an interactive map that shows hundreds of different places to fish and navigate throughout the country. You can even post photos of the first capture of a young man and interact with other new fishermen through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks.

TPWD Fisherman Education Program ( is another good online resource for beginning anglers who want to learn about the basics of fishing.

The website provides links to all kinds of instructional videos and a full calendar of educated and fisherman fishing classes throughout the summer in several Texas state parks.

There is also a list of places where you can borrow bars, reels and other equipment for up to seven days. Some places require a deposit for the loan equipment available through donations and donations.

Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris knows the value of involving more fishermen in fishing. Recently, he donated 55,000 canes and reels to nonprofit organizations focused on youth to launch the Bass Pro Shops / Cabeos "Gone Fishing" program. Bass Pro Shops and Cabela have donated more than 400,000 items to youth outreach organizations throughout North America since the beginning of the program.

"The most special memories of life come from spending time in nature with those you care about," says Morris. "For me, it all started with fishing. We want to help all children discover the joy of fishing in the ocean, in a lake or in a stream, so we are donating thousands of fishing rods and we invite families to fish their first fish in Bass Pro Shops and Encouraging everyone to bring someone they love to fish this summer. "

There are many good places to fish in Texas. In addition to hundreds of public reservoirs, kilometers of coastline and saltwater bays, there are streams, streams and rivers full of fish willing to bite a fishhook.

You do not have a boat The public fishing piers, docks and private storage tanks are excellent options for bank fishermen. Another good program is the Neighborhood Fishin program, run by TPWD.

The program is built around 19 lakes and community ponds. Most are located near larger cities, usually in park-like environments that offer easy access.

The lakes are generously equipped with fish, usually at two-week intervals. Channel catfish raised in hatchery is stored from spring to autumn and rainbow trout during the winter months, when the water is cooler.

Fishermen can keep up to five fish per day with no minimum size limit; some sites have cleaning facilities.

On the program's website there is a complete list of the storage dates indicated for each lake. The action can be particularly rapid shortly after the fish are released.

You will need your own equipment. It is allowed fishing with stick and line only with the limit of two poles per person. Young people under the age of 17 do not need a license to fish. Adults must have a valid license and seal of freshwater fishing.

Engage in fishing

It is one thing to introduce a beginner to fishing. The trick is to do it in a way that does not spit the hook.

Here are some tips to gather personal experiences and conversations with other fishing mentors. Following them will not guarantee that you will beat a fishing partner for life, but it is sure that it will help keep the problems out of line:

Patience: One of the worst things you can do as a fishing mentor is to lose your temper when a beginner is not meeting your expectations.

Some people realize faster than others. He blows a wick with a novice fisherman, particularly a small child, and could break his fishing spirit long before he has a chance to fully develop.

Do not push it: You can take a horse to the water, but you can not force it to drink. The same goes for children and fishing.

You can take a child to fish, but you can not force them to like it immediately. The fact that a child does not participate in sports at age 6 does not mean that their interests do not change later. Always make the offer to take them but never force the issue.

Let the child take you fishing: It is useless to make a child see a bobber dance on the surface when he is most interested in playing with the bait or shells along the shore.

The idea is to make the fishing trip as pleasant as possible so that they want to return, not an exercise in misery. Let the child do what he wants, as long as he is not bothering anyone else or in danger of hurting himself.

Make it fun: I recently took my three-year-old granddaughter, Lydia, to her first fishing trip. It was like an instant replay of his mother's first trip 26 years ago.

I was much more interested in eating sandwiches and playing with the earthworms we used as bait than anything else.

Lydia never faltered in the first bluegill, but the exit was a hit in my book because she has been talking about going back ever since.

Make them comfortable: Texas summers are brutally hot. It is always better to take the young people to fish early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the sun is low and the temperatures are cooler. Fish tend to be more cooperative in low light conditions.

If it's sunny and hot, take shelter under the shade of a tree or a covered dock. Make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen, snacks and cold drinks, but leave the video games and iPads at home.

Fish that bites

Children like action. It is always better to take youngsters to catch fish that do not require much skill to capture and are quite cooperative most of the time.

Here are the best bets:

The best option: Bluegills

Blue cakes and other small fish are abundant in freshwater waters throughout the state. They do not grow large, but they are super competitive and are almost always willing to bite a baited hook.

Better places: Shaded docks, beds of coastal weeds, hanging trees or other decks that fish can use to hide from larger predators.

The bite can be particularly rapid when the fish are grouped in spawning colonies in shallow waters from June to August.

The best baits: Small worms of wax, grasshoppers, crickets and worms. The Berkley PowerBait Power Wigglers are a great manufactured bait.

Fishing Council: Use a small hook and a small bait to accommodate the small mouth of the bluegill. A light bobber like the Thill Shy Bite is a great help to detect subtle bites.

Second choice: Canal cat

Channel catfish tend to run in large schools and can be highly competitive when fed. They are among the best fish that eat around.

Better places: The channel cat is abundant in many reservoirs and rivers. They can be captured near the coast or away from the shore around stream channels and standing timber.

The best baits: Bright lights, grasshoppers, night crawlers, prepared cheeses and punch.

Fishing Council: The cat's channel is fed in large part by a keen sense of smell. Priming a hole with sweet and sour corn is a good way to provoke a feeding frenzy. Bitter grain is easy. Fill a 5-gallon bucket of 1/2 to 3/4 full of grain, cover it with water and cover slightly cracked. A few days in the sun will give the grain a very strong smell. Use a coffee can to spread the grain on the sides of the pot, but do not use it too much. The idea is to attract the fish, not feed them until they are full.

Third Choice: Crappie

Crappie spent most of his life wandering in large schools outside the bank, usually in relation to coverage and structure. Considered by many as the best fish to eat fresh water.

Better places: Standing timber, piers, bridge pilings and piles.

The best baits: Small templates and live shiners.

Fishing Council: Crappie are prone to suspend in the water column. Once the correct depth is determined, suspend a bait at that depth with a sliding cork or in a tight line and wait for the bite to arrive.

Fourth option: White Bass / Hybrids

The white bass and the hybrids are a muscular fish with an attitude. Summers spend in open water, usually in large schools. The fish are super aggressive when the dinner bell rings.

Better places: Rapid action often occurs far from the shore when fish are being raised on the surface or grouped in humps, dots and underwater roads.

The best baits: Live brightness, cut tarpon, slab spoons, crankbaits, rat-L-traps and upper waters.

Fishing Council: Use the trawl motor to move silently within the casting distance of the fish that are forming on the surface. The noise from the outboard will scare the fish and could ruin a golden opportunity.

Matt Williams is a freelance writer who resides in Nacogdoches. You can contact him by email, [email protected]


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