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Recovering Fishaholic
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3,650 Posts
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"I caught one!" What a neat thing to hear a kid say. Since the dawn of
humankind, teaching a kid to fish has been among the most satisfying and
rewarding experiences.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has some tips for getting a kid
safely hooked on fishing, and the DNR throws in Free Fishing Weekend (June
12-13) so that adults and kids have an excuse to find fun new fishing holes.

Beginner fishing tips
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- Every angler needs a fishing hat. Besides protection from glare and sun,
the bill of the hat over sunglasses shields eyes and head from first casts
with hook and line.

- Check your back. Ask an apprentice caster to look back before casting to
make sure people, animals or obstructions are not in the way.

- Fish handling. Teach kids the appropriate way to handle fish to prevent
small bites and fin pricks, as well as injury to the fish.

- Be safe and comfortable. Take along sun screen, kid-safe insect repellent,
a small first aid kit, life vest and, of course, some snacks and plenty to
drink. And don't pull back hard on a snagged line. It could spring back and
hurt someone.

- Quick Success. Kids love to catch fish, any size fish. So your best bet
for kid fishing success is to look for bluegill or their panfish cousins --
they are usually plentiful and scrappy. The basic hook, worm and bobber rig
is still the best way to catch these fish. Panfish have small mouths, so use
a size 10 or smaller hook, and the bait should just barely cover the hook.

Love our natural resources. If the fish aren't biting, looking for bait can
be just as fun as fishing. Look for bugs under rocks. Take along a net to
catch grasshoppers. Or, skip some stones. Talk about the weather. Poke stuff with sticks. Climb a tree. Teach the kids what poison ivy looks like. And use some of the leftover lunch crumbs to surface feed the fish. The ones that aren't biting always seem to find the bread and cracker crumbs.

For more panfish fishing basics, check out:
http://www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/fish/fishing/bobber.htm

June 12 and 13, 2004 is Indiana's Free Fishing Weekend. Hoosiers don't need a fishing license during this weekend. More than 30 public properties are hosting free fishing events for kids. For more information visit:
http://www.ai.org/dnr/fishwild/fish/freefish/freefish.html
 
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