Hooked on Fishing

This summer activity puts the entire family in touch with nature and each other.
 
My dad was a great parent in every way, but he was an immigrant, and some of the things most dads and sons shared — like baseball and football — were unknown to him. But there was one activity that we enjoyed together, and that was fishing, a sport practiced worldwide and one he had shared with his father many years ago on Sweden’s Lake Mälaren, Dad taught me to fish when I was about 8 years old on Wisconsin’s Lake Puckaway, helped me land my first fish, a plump lake perch of about 8 inches, and then taught me to clean it and cook it. We fished together for many summers thereafter on lakes throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. A passion for fishing was something we embraced, and it kept us close and communicating well into my teen years.
 
Kids and fishing are meant for each other. And there’s no better way for an adult and a child — or an entire family — to bond than on the water, away from distractions. You don’t need a lot of gear, but having the right equipment helps ensure success. When I was a wee one, a fishing kit had to be purchased piece-by-piece. Today, rod and reel combos provide everything one needs to land that first fish in one inexpensive package. And Dunham’s has a range of choices in stock, right now.
 
Rod and Reel Combos
 
The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Combo is a great choice for your sons and daughters. With a tough rod, your choice of spinning or spincast reel, spooled line and a 7-year warranty, it’s perfect for the up and coming angler.
 
For the young ladies, Dunham’s offers a Shakespeare combo that pays homage to the Disney “Frozen” movie. The fully spooled reel is a spincast design that is easily mastered. A practice casting plug is included so basic skills can be taught in the backyard.
 
Consider also the range of Abu Garcia Max series bait-cast combos and reels. Meant for serious fishing, they are as tough as the biggest fish in the pond.
 
South Bend Ready2Fish combos are engineered and designed to provide everything you or your youngster needs to start fishing today. In addition to a spooled reel and split grip 5 ½-foot rod, each spincast combo comes with floats, brass snap swivels, a hook assortment, jig heads, a 1.4-ounce red and white spoon, 3-inch grubs, a shad dart, and easy-to-read instructions. Various other Ready2Fish models, including some with spinning reels and a pink set for the ladies, are also available at Dunham’s.
 
Dunham’s carries South Bend’s Microlite S Class Combos as well. Great looking and ultra sensitive, a Microlite spin or spincast combo is perfect for mom, dad and junior. With a handsome cork-handled rod, a Microlite outfit delivers performance and value.
 
Essential Gear
 
Augment your youngster’s fishing kit with a South Bend Worm Gear tackle box. Available in various colorful hues, the durable box comes with a removable tray and 88 gear essentials, including a hook remover, stringer, sinkers, swivels, floats and hooks.
 
Speaking of tackle, the Mepps Aglia spinner, available at Dunham’s, is a critical piece of equipment. This type of spinner doesn’t imitate minnows, worms or any of the other critters game fish like to eat. What it does is call attention to itself and prompt a fish to think something is invading its territory. Mepps spokesman, Jim Martinson, says spinners and trout go together like peanut butter and jelly. Jim recommends matching the size of the spinner to the size of the trout. The #00, #0 and #1 Aglias are perfect for small brook, rainbow or brown trout. Large trout may strike more often on a #2 or #3 Aglia.
 
Basic Skills
 
Before taking your youngster out to the water, have them practice casting in the backyard. If your combo outfit came with a hookless practice plug, attach that to the end of the line. If not, use a metal washer or nut.
 
Demonstrate the correct technique, guide your child’s arm on the first few attempts, and keep encouraging. My five-year-old granddaughter got the hang of it in five minutes or so.
 
Another important skill you can teach is knot tying. If your offspring can’t tie a hook onto a line, they won’t be able to manage on their own. And it’s important that they quickly learn to handle the basic gear prep chores. Too much reliance on dad or mom will take the fun out of fishing and diminish the sense of accomplishment that youngsters so enjoy.
 
The improved clinch knot is probably a slip-proof knot that can be mastered in minutes. To tie it, simply pass the line through the eye of the hook. Then leaving a small loop at the eye, wrap the line around itself four or five times, pass it through the loop you left at the eye, pull tight and trim the end. Simple and effective.
 
Nothing beats fishing for family fun. Strength and athletic skills aren’t really a factor, so everyone can do it. Success breeds togetherness and happiness, and few things in life are more pleasing than smiles all around.
 
-Hook, Line & Sinker
 
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