This contribution comes from Brandon Dawson of Illinois:
This fall I had a great time teaching my brother-in-law and my nephew how to catch bigger bass. When my nephew was three years old he asked me to teach him to fish and I can vividly remember his mother shaking her head no in the background. She thought he was too young to stand next to a body of water. On top of that, since she had never been fishing herself, she imagined waves of poisonous snakes or fish that drag grown man in their doom roaming these Illinois ponds and lakes. I told my nephew we had to wait until he was five. God bless his soul because he never mentioned that promise again until his fifth birthday. When we were at Walmart buying a kid-sized push button fishing pole, his father expressed interest to learn also so we picked up a fishing license for him.
One Saturday, we all drove out to a catch and release pond. I lent one of my open faced spinning reels and rod to my brother-in-law. After tying a weighted bobber on the end of both their lines, I had to teach the fundamentals: casting. They say kids have minds like sponges and my nephew actually learned to cast pretty efficiently before his father did. Once they had enough practice casting, I taught his father to tie a Palomar Knot. It’ll be a couple more birthdays before I think my nephew can tie his own knots on his hooks.
The set-up was a whole corn kernel on a size eight hook, a split shot about 6 inches above the hook and a bobber six inches above that. We all caught dozens of bluegills using that set-up. I even let my nephew reel in a couple of the bluegill I hooked! Most of them were undersized probably because of over-population but it was catch and release anyways.
My nephew really enjoyed how clear the water was at this particular pond. He could see the bluegill engulf the corn before he set the hook and reeled the fish in. It is an amazing feeling passing the sport of fishing to another generation. The look of excitement and accomplishment is priceless. That is a memory that will last forever.