Fishing as a kid never seemed to be that simple. When we did catch fish it was such a buzz but there were many sessions and trips where we came up fishless, sometimes without even so much as a bite. Looking back I can pin point numerous reasons for the little success we had. Frozen service station prawns that had been thawed in the sun and refrozen over and over again; fishing equipment that I realise now, would have been more suited to spinning for jewfish or snapper when we were just hoping for some bream or flathead; and when we did get out in a boat, we would anchor up in the middle of nowhere probably because it was somewhere not within casting distance from the shore. As I grew up I remember my learning resources changed from what my family had done with little success for years, to books that I would borrow from my local or school library or receive as gifts for Christmas or birthdays. Currently, my 3 year old son is developing a strong interest in fish and fishing. We have set up a small fish tank with guppies so that he can hopefully have an understanding of the lifecycle of fish, but at the moment he just enjoys feeding time and watching them swim around. On top of this, he has also developed a keen interest in actually going out and fishing with Mum and Dad.
Getting more people involved in fishing is something that we encourage whole heartedly and the younger generations, especially children, are probably the best group to target. How many times do you hear an angler say that their first fishing experience was “As a child fishing with my *insert family member or friend here*…. and since then I have been hooked”. This has often left me thinking that I want my children to enjoy whatever hobbies or interests they choose, but if those interests are common with mine, well that would be even better. Luca’s first fishing experience with me was amazing. Although throwing lures with a 2 year old is probably not the most ideal situation, he managed to catch his first bream. I was proud but I think I was also very lucky. Had he not caught a fish, the excitement may not have triggered the urge for him to want to do it again. This exact situation really had me thinking about how to engage Luca and eventually my daughter Siena so that the boredom doesn’t set in, potentially influencing their future interest in fishing.
So what is my strategy? While on a recent trip to Nambucca Heads with my family I thought it would be a good idea to get back to basics with the family – Fishing from the boardwalk, catching and releasing whatever we could. Armed with a loaf of bread, Luca’s Daiwa Aird combo which is spooled with 4lb monofilament line and a size 10 mosquito hook, we set Luca to work ‘feeding the fish’ with some of the bread. This immediately told us whether there were fish in the area or not. 9 times out of ten the bream, blackfish and mullet started feeding within a couple of minutes. Once we could see the fish feeding I would mould some bread around the hook making sure there was none of the hook exposed, but at the same time making it as compact as possible. It was then just a matter of casting the bread bait out into the middle of the bread and fish and waiting for the line to come up tight. The entertainment value of this was priceless and Luca’s excitement levels went off the scale. Between throwing out the bread, missed strikes and winding in fish, he was run off his feet, not to mention Lauren, who supports but doesn’t necessarily get involved in my fishing activities, was also having a good time. With one rod to share, Luca and Lauren actually got to the point of fighting over who’s turn it was to catch the next fish.
Now we didn’t catch a feed of fish, nor did we catch any personal bests, but the most satisfying part of this was that both my son and wife had a heap of fun doing what I enjoy. This experience has Luca continually asking when we are going fishing next but it also made my wife, and me as a matter of fact, realise that fishing can be so simple and satisfying for the family.