Why You and Your Kids Need to go Catfishing

by Ron Presley

 The power of parental guidance.

Learning habits like CPR can be part of a family fishing excursion. Lessons passed on from parents to kids will last a lifetime.

Given all the great reasons to go fishing, one of the best is that it is among the best ways to spend time with family and friends. In the catfish community there are a lot of examples of family fishing experiences, but there could always be more. In fact, the future of the sport likely depends on increased family (and friends) participation. We should all do our part to promote and encourage new catfish angers to visit our rivers and lakes and give catfishing try.

Liz Ogilvie, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) answered the question, “Why go fishing?,” in an introductory letter to the ASA Media Guide.

“Because it’s fun, rewarding, healthy and creates long-lasting memories,” she said.

Ogilvie went on to explain that fishing can be relaxing and at the same time exciting and anyone can do it.

“It can be relaxing, or fueled with adrenaline,” said Ogilvie. “You can fish in fresh or saltwater. You can do it from a boat, from the shoreline, from a dock or wading in the water. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, if you’re a man or a woman, a boy or a girl, if you’re right- or left-handed, or if you’re big and strong or petite. Fishing is easy, inexpensive and can be done close to home. A ‘fishing hole’ of some sort is accessible to all Americans, regardless of location, income or age.”

Steve Henderson, president of SeaArk Boats, recently pointed to the research of Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, as evidence of the benefits of enjoying the water.

Nichols is the author of Blue Mind. His subtitle is, “The surprising science that shows how being near, in, on, or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what you do.”

A marine biologist by trade, Nichols’ book presents scientific evidence that being close to bodies of water promotes mental health and happiness.

Scientific evidence suggests that experiencing nature and being around the water has benefits that go much beyond the activity of fishing. It adds to a happy existence.

The statement makes me think of an often heard expression, “It doesn’t matter if I catch any fish or not, just being here is worth it.” Is that true for you? Is fishing and being near the water a natural way to rest, relax, and recharge?

In an interview with USA Today, Nichols explained the concept of “Blue Mind” [as describing] the mildly meditative state we fall into when near, in, on or under water. It’s the antidote to what we refer to as “red mind,” which is the anxious, over-connected and over-stimulated state that defines the new normal of modern life. Research has proven that spending time near the water is essential to achieving an elevated and sustained happiness.”

With evidence like this why wouldn’t we want our kids to grow up experiencing fishing and the opportunity to be near water? It’s good for them in many ways that reaches beyond the actual experience. Most people probably know in their hearts that those visits to the water are beneficial, but todays culture pulls hard on our youth to do other things.

“…why wouldn’t we want our kids to grow up experiencing fishing…”

The ASA Media Guide reported, “When a household’s father fished one to three days per year, the participation rate of sons increased from 10% to 71%, and the rate for daughters increased from 5% to 45%. Participation on the part of the mother resulted in even higher participation rates of both sons and daughters than the same level of activity on the part of the father. If a mother fished one to three days per year, 70% of daughters and 85% of sons participated.”

This finding is strong evidence of the power of parental guidence in youth fishing experiences. So, let’s not just take our fishing trips for granted—let’s plan some of them with our youth in mind. Involve them in planning the trip, preparing the equipment, and choosing the bait. Youngsters have a naturally inquisitive mind and they learn quickly if given the chance.

Fishing stimulates young minds in the best possible ways. It encourages them to engage in nature instead of video screens. And  scientific evidence like Nichol’s suggests that fishing (being near the water) helps develop minds that can better cope with the fast-paced life of our modern world.


“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

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