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The Occasional Fisherman: Reach back in your memory for that very first fishing trip
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Do you remember the first time you went fishing? How old were you? Where did you go?

Did you take your child fishing for the first time? Where? How old was your child?

I have asked these questions to some of my friends. They were delighted to answer them. Please send me your story to:

As I approach my 70th year, my long term memory has gotten better, while short term memory has disappeared. I clearly recall my dad taking me at 5 years old to a creek created by the overflow of a large dam. There was a fallen tree in the water, we fished around it. Using a bobber and worms, we caught several small sunfish. I remember how colorful the pumpkin seed sunfish were. It was a fun way to start a life of occasional fishing.

When I was in the sixth grade we moved a few miles away. The new house had a creek in the backyard. Two miles down the creek was a large lake. This provided many enjoyable times of fishing and camping with my brothers and friends.

Google says the good year to first take a child fishing is 3-5 years old. So if you have a child or grandchild to take fishing, Georgia Natural Resources offers these recommendations:

• Keep it easy. Choose simple tackle, bait, and techniques. (I recommend using a colorful bobber.) Fish for a species that is plentiful and easy to catch. Your goal should be to keep their rod bent as much as possible. Don’t worry about catching  a fish that YOU will be proud of – catch anything! The more interesting, colorful and unique the fish, the more excited they will be. 

•Keep it short. Marathon days are not what they need. Try to find fishing spots very close to home that don’t require long car or boat rides.

• Keep them covered. Use plenty of sunscreen and protective clothing.

• Keep them happy. Take lots of snacks, including a treat that is not allowed at home. Snacks can help break up moments of frustration and will keep the kids interested.

• Keep your cool. Expect to re-bait hooks and take out line tacks and knots all day. This is their day not yours.

• I am adding my own (a pet peeve). Teach them to properly dispose of trash. Tell them, “Give a hoot, don’t pollute.”

Google “kid fishing tips” and you’ll plenty of information from a lot of sources.

Reach back into your memory for the first time you went fishing, let me know. I’m already getting some good stories from friends. Those will be coming in my next column.

Mitchell, the occasional fisherman, writes an occasional column.

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