As Fall winds down, do you find yourself clinging to the last bits of nice weather? Why not round out these beautiful evenings with the tackle-box instead of the X-Box. Unplug and reconnect. Grab some good company, bait, rod & reel, and hit the local fishing hole.
Fishing helps children refine motor skills with casting, reeling, and baiting a hook. Fishing is also a highly sensory experience; from slimy fish, to tension on the line, to a submerged bobber, and listening to bullfrogs and waterfowl. Tangles in fishing line are opportunities to problem solve, practice patience, and learn when to ask for help. Conversations naturally flourish in this type of environment, even with the quietest of children. From the first bite, they’ll be hooked.
Not sure how to get started? I recommend starting at a bait shop. They’re the local experts. You’ll get set up with a pole, tackle, bait, and advice.
Fishing is affordable fun. Children 15 and younger fish free in Iowa, residents 16 and older can purchase a yearly license for $22 at over 700 retailers. The Jester Park Nature Center is also a great resource for central Iowans, they loan out poles for a refundable deposit and the center is within walking distance of a pond loaded with hungry panfish. Bait is usually under $5 and simple lures are only a few bucks for a multi-pack. This Summer we’ve been experimenting with catching fish with hotdogs. For $2 we’ve gotten enough “hotdog bait” for 3 fishing outings. Simply cut them up ahead of time into small coins or half coins, microwave for a minute or two to toughen them up, and you’re ready to go.
Remember to take pictures of the lunkers you reel in. Even if you don’t catch any fish, enjoy the opportunity to soak in nature, unplug from technology with your loved ones, enjoy a delicious picnic, and make up a few fish tales about the one that got away.
For more information on borrowing poles from Jester Park Nature Center, visit their website.
Sara Lynn, RN, BSN
“If you don’t invest in your health, no one else will.”