As the spring season draws nearer, many anglers are ready to burst with anticipation and excitement to get out onto the water. Some will go it alone, favoring peace and quiet during a morning on the lake. Others prefer to grab a few friends and enjoy the day together, laughing and helping each other out on the boat. There are also some who’ll be taking their children out for what might be their very first fishing trip. This is an amazing thing, but this is also the point where anglers pass on their love, their knowledge, and their legacy with regards to the sport, which makes it our responsibility to pass on a wholesome respect for the sport, the environment, and each other on the water.

As anglers, we’ve learned a lot about technique, fish habits, weather patterns, and a plethora of other small, but vital, details regarding the sport. As a former fishing associate, one of my greatest joys was teaching children how to use a certain lure or perfect a particular technique, watching them learn on the panfish pond outside the store, and then seeing the excitement on their faces when they caught a fish using what I taught them. Furthermore, hearing their stories weeks or even months later, when they would return to the store just to share them with me, was a great reward. Impart your own knowledge and individual techniques and watch as your children apply them. Also, take pride if they tweak something you’ve taught them to suit their own style. After all, while it’s fun to teach them, it’s also important that they maintain their individuality and bring a little of their own personality and style into the mix.

A major element of fishing is maintaining the health of the environment by practicing safety and making a conscious effort to leave behind as little of a carbon footprint as possible. Share with your children the importance of preserving the environment by picking up your trash, not polluting the waters with gasoline or other chemicals, and doing all you can to not disrupt the delicate ecosystems of the lakes, rivers, and oceans we all love. After all, you want them to be able to fish for years to come and doing what we can now to take steps towards keeping the environment clean will help ensure that they’ll be able to do so in the future.

Our children learn from us and when it comes to fishing, it’s important to ensure that the respect for the sport—environmentalism, sportsmanship, patience—are just a few of the vital things they learn from us as the next generation of anglers. We’re not immortal. However, one way we can all leave a legacy is with the knowledge we pass on to future generations. Fishing is just another way to leave behind a lasting passion for what we love and ensure that our children and their children will always share that passion.

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