OUR SON has just turned four years old, and Daddy recently bought him a fishing pole. Our first mistake was that we only bought one for him, and not one for each of his three older sisters (we should have known that the hobby would catch on like wildfire). Fishing is a pastime that can be fun for the whole family, but there are a few safety reminders I’d like to share that will make your next trip go more smoothly and be all the more enjoyable for everyone.
• First, pack the necessary supplies. Besides the fishing gear, bring lots of water, bug repellant, sun block, hats, sunglasses, lip balm, a first aid kit, rain gear or ponchos (just in case), and plenty of snacks. If you’re kids are active (and really, have you ever met one that isn’t?), then the snacks will help break up the time between catching fish. Consider packing something that they aren’t usually allowed to have at home.
• Make sure the young ones know the ground rules. No running. Always check behind you before you cast. Plus, it’s a good idea that they each wear a fitted Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device.
• Consider the location for the fishing. This is important, because conditions of the waterfronts can change suddenly, so perhaps map out a few different locations before you venture out. Inspect the area thoroughly before getting comfortable to make sure the risk for potential slips or falls can be reduced. Also, if you’re taking very young children, try to select a lake that is very well stocked and closer to home. A long trip would tire the young ones out before you even arrive, and a cranky child is less careful or willing to listen than a contented one.
• Finally, practice the proper cast. Have the beginning anglers start out practicing their cast overhead first. It is moderately safer than a side cast, and it’s a little easier for them to learn the proper technique.
column by CELESTE JO WALLS
Celeste Jo Walls is managing editor of Central Florida Health News. She may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.