Fishing has been an important part of my life. Like a lot of anglers, however, I’ve had some help along the way. For example, there’s the owner of a local bait shop here in Lansing, Anna Werner, who has been my friend for years and given me all kinds of good information about where and how to fish. Then there’s my barber, Gary Ridenour, who has showed me the ins and outs of steelhead fishing. Finally, there’s my dad; he doesn’t enjoy fishing as much as I do, but he is always happy to take me to the far corners of Michigan so I can fish.
So what does all this mean if you are a teenage angler? It means you can already pass on some of your fishing knowledge to younger kids and other people in your community. I have been able to help out with the kids’ fishing program at the Oden State Fish Hatchery Visitors Center, and I have volunteered with a group that helps kids with developmental disabilities spend time with a rod and reel. But there’s more you can do, too. If I see a young angler along the Looking Glass, where I live in Clinton County, I offer to show them the good fishing spots, and if I see something they can do to improve their experience, I help them as best I can.
If you are at school, listen to the kids who say they’d like to go fishing. And, you know what? We can learn more, too. Always seek new mentors. If you’re fishing in a new area, check with the local anglers. Some (okay, not everyone) might be happy to share information. I’ve made some friends at good fishing spots all over Michigan, and we share information about what is biting and what kinds of presentations are working.
The people you meet and the friends that you make are one of the best
parts of fishing. I’ve met doctors out fishing, as well as people who need to catch their dinner. I’ve met rugged anglers in remote areas Up North and savvy anglers along rivers in cities, and we’re all different, and that’s okay. But fishing brings us together, and it reminds me we have a lot more in common than we think. For a teenager, or anyone for that matter, that’s a good message to remember.
Joe Perry – YCC member, DeWitt, MI