With the amount of technology and hands on devices our kids are exposed to, now more
than ever, it’s important to get them out from in front of the screens and on the water. Granted,
there are some parents that really limit their children’s exposure to these devices, but unless
you’re in the bush, it’s almost impossible to completely avoid it.
At a minimum, I try to get my two boys on the water at least once a week. When we are
lucky, it is more than that. Some people say it’s all about the experience. They would be right,
but my boys definitely like to experience catching fish. They quickly lose focus once we have
gone more than 30 minutes or so, without catching a fish. They are 2 and 4, so it doesn’t take
much for them to lose focus and start looking for other things to do.
Right now, here in the Last Frontier, just about everything is locked up tight. The boys
enjoy ice fishing. Especially when we are catching. I may have invested in some electronics to
help keep their focus, and so far it has really seemed to work. They really enjoy just watching the
fish and trying to get them to eat their offering. I have to be very careful where I take them.
Because, if it’s a lake that has low numbers but high quality, it can be a long day. This usually
results in us leaving early because they have had enough, and so have I.
After coming home one day, from fishing a new lake, my wife asked if we had caught
anything. I told her we got the big old skunk and the boys wanted to leave, because Dad was
getting frustrated with them being boys and running amuck in the shanty. Then she said that
fishing was supposed to be fun, and leaving early because of Dad’s frustration didn’t sound like
much fun. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Fishing is supposed to be fun, and if I want my two
boys to enjoy it, and eventually keep fishing, then I have to stop taking it as serious as I do when
I take them out. I need to save the serious fishing for when I’m by myself. Then I only have me,
myself, and I to get frustrated with.
So, from that day forward I decided that when we fish together I will take them to a lake
where I know we can catch good numbers. They may not be huge fish, but there are lots of them.
The kids don’t care, as long as they’re catching. Then again, my oldest did ask where the bigger
ones are the last time we were on the easy lake.
I hope I’m doing things right as a parent when it comes to getting my two young boys
involved with fishing. Hopefully they want to keep going fishing with me as they get older, and
so far it seems they have forgotten about Dad’s little spat on the ice. Especially since the oldest
keeps asking if we can go fishing tomorrow.
Teaching Them Young
by Chris Tobias
September, 2018 Issue
Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Christopher and his wife, Hillery, own Roe Hard Guide Service, LLC. They are based out of
Wasilla, Alaska, where they are raising their two young boys, Grayson and Gavin. Roe Hard
Guide Service, LLC, operates on the Susitna River Drainage.