|For the Novice
| Fishing with novices and children is usually a very
rewarding trip for me. I have been taking neophytes and
Salt rookies fishing since I was in high school,
introducing them to saltwater fishing or sometimes, just
fishing itself. Guiding people through a good
introduction and subsequent sophomore series of trips
has been as much of a teacher to me as any of the folks I
have learned from or my own efforts at finding and
fooling fish. It makes one think about it in an entirely
different perspective; an effort to simplify and still
deliver everything necessary to be successful.
In general, the anglers who have fished freshwater
enough to become proficient or at least qualified at
fishing in general are able to make the transition with no
trouble at all. For them, it's simply a matter of explaining
a couple rule changes and some quick "what to expect"
conversation as we go. Bass fishermen, for example, do
very well at the artificial lures game since there are so
many similarities. Their shock usually comes when they
feel the difference in power and speed of most
A neophyte is usually challenged by the tackle and the
techniques, so if this is you, rest assured I keep the trips
simple and fun. It's NOT dumbing down, it's simply
taking everything into account to make sure you have the
best time possible! We catch a lot of fish, but I don't
burden anyone with advanced artificial lure techniques
or difficult casting situations unless you are simply very
keyed to try one or another that you have heard or read
about. If so, I'm happy to coach you through it until you
get the handle. No shouting or irritable orders, just
patience and understanding because it's often not as
easy as we can make it look. Adults can grasp the
vocabulary and explanations best, but I'm fine with doing
the same for children, within reason. Most six year olds
have no business trying to skip cast a soft jerkbait way
under the mangroves. That's just begging for a
frustrated 6 year old!
Children between the ages of 5 and 9, with some
exceptions, offer an entirely different set of challenges.
My own keep me occupied almost non-stop when they
accompany me. Some kids are obviously a bigger
handful than others, but I have never regretted having a
child or youth aboard my boat. Generally, once the fish
start to bite, all such worries are laid aside. I’m not in the
habit of taking out children I fear will hurt themselves
while aboard and I strive to insure that such a thing
doesn’t ever happen.
Based on experience, I usually keep trips with smaller
children at or under 3 hours, with the understanding
ahead of time that if 3 hours pass and the child is still
happy and enthusiastic, then we can stay longer. Such
things can be discussed when we set up the date and
arrangements for your trip. Obviously, allowances are
made in such circumstances. I take each trip as it comes.
If your child is already fond of fishing and likely to hit
the end of the trip wishing for more time, then obviously
we can dispense with any of the above concerns. Older
kids often outlast their parents and beg for more time.
Bottom line? If you don’t know a ladyfish from a snook
or a jig from a plug, don’t worry about it. That’s what
first trips are for! If you have little ones and wonder if
they are ready, try it and see. I don’t mind a bit and fully
understand the concerns and questions!
|This saltwater rookie quickly mastered one artificial
technique and fought his first snook along the way.
|30" snook aren't picky about the size of
the angler if they like the presentation!
|This fly angler was new to saltwater. By the end o f the trip,
he'd boated well over a dozen snook and had a sore spot on
his torso for the next couple days from the butt of his flyrod.
|A 23" trout liked this smallmouth veteran's approach.