Start them young

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I’ve spent a quite a bit of my fishing time over the last couple of months fishing with my 5 year old, Ben. The thing that I’ve noticed, is that a bit of one-on-one tuition and some “purposeful practice” has seen some major improvement in his ability.

Ben is a determined and competitive “young man”.  Show him how to do something once, and he’ll practice, and practice and practice until he gets it right.  Since the age of 6 months or so, when he could sit up, he’s demonstrated a strong level of hand-eye co-ordination.

All he wanted to do at that age is have you roll a ball to him and he’d throw it back.  Nowadays, he’s still into his ball sports. Nicky will often recount how he’ll drag her into the backyard for hours and have her throw a ball into the air so he can practice his catching.  Over the Christmas holidays, we spent a couple of hours each day playing cricket in the nets until I was exhausted, and now that it’s soccer season, you’ll find him in the yard practicing his “lefty” kicking because that’s his weak leg.

He spends the weekend constantly checking my phone to find out the scores in the footy.  He needs to know who won and by how much.

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Well, I’ll tell you, that fishing is no different.  Out of my three kids, he’s the one that constantly asks me to go. He talks about it all the time.  When I come home from a trip he needs to know how many fish were caught, who caught the most, how big they were, what they were caught on, and so on and so forth.

When we fish now, he’s focused. The bream have been plentiful on the boats and pontoons of late, and Ben is becoming quite the little maestro at cranking the boat hulls.  It started out that I’d cast for him, hand him the rod and let him retrieve.  When we fish together, I still don’t fish, rather, I spend the time helping him as much as possible.  Initially his retrieve would be too fast, and although consistency is something he needs to keep working on, after catching a couple of fish, he’s actually picked up the idea that he needs to slow down, roll the lure as close to the hull as possible, and he can tell the difference between the lure clipping the hull and a bream bite.

Tom & Ben

We have fished enough hulls now, that he has started to predict which boats he will catch fish on.  He gets the concept that the old “Manky” looking hulls hold fish.  He’s beginning to understand that yachts increase his chances of a hookup, and he likes to fish blue and yellow hulls (not sure where that comes from).

Now picture this.  Ben rolling a crankbait down the hull.  Concentration on his face. Then from out of nowhere, “yep, yep, yep… yep, I’m on”!

Lookout Uncle Ian, you’ll have some competition soon…

8 responses to “Start them young

  1. Great Write up, Greg! I bet he will be in the ABT & Comps as soon as he is old enough. 🙂 I just hope he still finds it as much fun as he does right now! Great to see one so young with such an understanding of how & where to catch fish!

  2. Hi Ian,
    I fish with my 6yr old son all the time. He will not let me go without him. I find great joy in watching him learn and each time increase his PB’s so I can relate to this post.
    Another good read Greg.

  3. Great story Greg, my 5 year old sounds a bit the same as your Ben – sports mad and a keen fisho. As soon as I get any good at cranking hulls I’m sure I will get him onto it as well.

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