Celebrate Outdoors – Family Fishing Power!

By L. Scott Jackson | Celebrate Outdoors, The News Herald

Even small fish are big catches to beginning anglers! Melanie McConnell shows off her second catch of the day while kayak fishing near Burnt Mill Creek.

Fish are special animals ordained with super powers to connect generations of families, friends, and communities. Fishing skills and experiences gained in one’s life are handed off to loved ones encased in legendary memories. I bet most anglers can tell you exactly when they caught their first fish in vivid detail – the time, place, weather, and more importantly, the person that took time to provide the opportunity and experience.

I remember as a child fishing with my dad. My first real catch is etched deep in my mind. Many moons ago, off the banks of the James River flowing outside of Richmond, Virginia, I caught a keeper size channel catfish. This experience gave my wiggle worm soul a glimpse into the future and the career path that would choose me. My dad was just as excited as I was! I still remember the patience, fortitude, and focus it took to remain positive and all the proper actions necessary to be a successful fisherman. The experience instilled in me a rush of self-accomplishment as I proudly gave my family a tasty supper with my fish.

There are many fishing adventures just outside our door here in Bay County. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or even siblings can serve as mentors to younger family members and create memorable moments engaging in all types of fishing activities. Even on a gloomy, rainy day you can spend time indoors developing fishing techniques that translate into positive life skills.

Two activities we teach at 4-H camp that are easily practiced at home are “knot tying” and “pop-can casters”. Instructions are here. Tying strong knots help anglers land fish and help discarded oversized or undersized fish survive. Pop-can casters use aluminum cans, fishing lines, and plastic practice lures to develop casting and targeting skills. These skills help anglers of all ages hit specific areas near fish cover or structure that hold fish. Time spent together doing these home activities help prepare everyone for additional quality time on the water.

A perfect family fishing activity is coming next month. The City of Panama City Leisure Services hosts its annual Hooked on Fishing! kid’s fishing clinic at the Life Management Center on Saturday May 6, 2017 (7am – Noon). There will be exciting opportunities to fish in a pond stocked with hungry catfish, plenty of prizes, and lots of food for participants. UF/IFAS Extension Bay County 4-H and Sea Grant programs will have a touch-tank featuring marine life from St Andrew Bay. The pop-can caster and knot tying activities mentioned in this article will also be featured. Come join us for a day of memorable family fun!

Scott Jackson is the Sea Grant agent with UF/IFAS Extension Bay County in Panama City. You can reach him at 850-784-6105. To learn more about these topics and other upcoming events, visit https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/bayco or follow UF/IFAS Extension Bay County on Facebook.

An Equal Opportunity Institution. UF/IFAS Extension, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension. Single copies of UF/IFAS Extension publications (excluding 4-H and youth publications) are available free to Florida residents from county UF/IFAS Extension offices.

See previous series articles at blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/bayco

The 4-H Mall holds a variety of activities and projects for youth and for adult leaders. Here are two examples. Learn more about Fishing by click on the images or visiting the full website at http://www.4-hmall.org/Category/educationresources.aspx

Tying knots are important fishing skills. Good knots help land fish and conserve fish resources.
Pop-can casting activities help develop fishing skills which include targeting structure and cover that often hold fish.

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Posted: April 9, 2017

Category: 4-H & Youth, Coasts & Marine, Natural Resources, Recreation
Tags: 4-H, Angling, Celebrate Outdoors, Family, Fish, Fishing, Kids Fishing, News Herald, Youth

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