How does that saying go? Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for life.
Give a kid a fish they eat for a day, teach a kid to fish they have a skill for life.
Fishing has shaped much of this family’s life. We are grateful that our parents live in the beautiful state or Montana on the river and that fishing is just want you do there. But there are many of us that are not so lucky. There are also many kids that never get the opportunity to make those amazing memories with their parents and grandparents. But fishing is one skill that teaches so much more than just feeding yourself.
The other skills that I am about to mention should be taught to all kids and fishing is one of the easiest ways to do just that.
1. Fishing Teaches Kids Where Their Food Comes From
Not all, but a lot of kids, don’t know where their food comes from. They often think it’s the store. Beyond that they just don’t know and I’m not sure where the disconnect is coming from.
For example, there was a video going around on one of the social media sites that featured a 10 year old boy sobbing. He had just found out that burger patties are made from cows and he was sad about it.
I thought, how does he not know, at 10 years old, where burgers come from?
What could be a better way to teach kids about how we get our food than a hands on lesson in fishing?
From catching the fish, to cleaning it (anatomy lesson), frying it up (cooking lesson) and then eating it (nutrition lesson) you just covered a full day of home school, plus the conversation about food sources will continue beyond fish.
Our five year old now asks where cheese comes from, chicken and just about everything else he can think of. He won’t be surprised at 10 to find out something he’s eating comes from an animal.
2. Gets Them Outside and Away From the Temptations of Screens
There is something uniquely different about getting those endorphin hits from your phone versus getting them from catching a fish. Snagging your first fish is a memory you’ll always have and so will your kids. I’m pretty sure they won’t remember the first time they played on the phone or tablet.
The Child Mind Institute claims that children spend 4-7 minutes outside in unstructured play and 7 hours a day in front of a screen, plus there’s school and after school activities. So how much time are they spending outside collectively? Based on those statistics not a whole lot.
The great thing about fishing is that it’s a start to getting your kids outside. They may start out fishing, but if they are anything like my son, fishing turns into rock hopping, swimming, bug catching and a host of other things. Even if they don’t fish, at least they are outside getting some much needed free play time.
3. Fishing Builds a Love for the Outdoors, Responsibility and Conservation
If you want people to conserve fisheries for the future than you start by building a love for the outdoors with your children, which means introducing outdoor activities to them like fishing. You have to teach them to fish, teach them how fish become fish and how the rest of the natural world works with fish.
Children who know more about nature tend to be more responsible in all aspects of their life. They tend to pick up trash off the sidewalks, be caring towards animals and have natural curiosity of how things work and our impact on them.
We need our children to be passionate about what we love so that can have it for their future and the future of their kids.
Being outside, in general, has so many benefits from respecting the environment to providing stimulation of all five senses and that’s something you can get with screens.
4. Fishing Builds Confidence
Fishing is a skill. It’s activity that you get better at with practice. Fishing also has skills within the activity like tying knots (fine motor development), cleaning fish (anatomy) and being aware of your surroundings (common sense). Having more skills equals more confidence, when your children become adults.
By the way, you can always use the blood knot tool to help them build their fine motor development and tie the best blood knot around.
5. Fishing Helps Build Conversational Skills
It’s hard to hold a phone or tablet in your hand when you’re holding a fishing rod. Better yet, it’s hard to be on your phone when there’s no cell service or wifi because where you are fishing there most likely isn’t any.
So this is the perfect time to actually talk to your kids, for them to learn the art of conversation. I always notice that my son is a lot more talkative when we are fishing together, probably because he has my full attention. He tells me about his friends and wild stories about how he’s going to catch the biggest fish. If that's not worth a fishing trip I don't know what is.
6. Fishing is More than Just About Fishing
As you can tell from the other reasons listed above fishing is more about life skills than fishing. Fishing also teaches kids patience and survival skills.
It’s also is a hobby that lots of kids really get into, which means they’ll stay out of trouble and have something to do when they are bored.
We hope that you have the opportunity to take your children fishing one day and hope they'll like as much as our son does.