Sunday, May 22, 2022

Take a Kid Fishing

Fishing is in full swing, and there is nothing better than a special fishing trip with a child.  It doesn’t matter if the child is 5 years old or 15 years old, that child has dreams of catching fish and having a good time with a special person.  I have had the chance to take dozens of kids fishing in the past decade, and a few adults that don’t get out much too, both are very satisfying and fun.  No matter the age, you will need to take certain steps to ensure you are introducing them properly to the sport of fishing. 

         To have an enjoyable time fishing with a youngster you need to focus on certain things that probably aren’t important on a regular fishing trip with an adult buddy.  Whether you choose a niece/nephew, grandchild, neighbor or your son or daughter, these simple steps will help you both have a good time fishing. 

The first thing you need to do is homework.  I know school will be out in about a month or so, but rarely does luck lead to catching fish.  There are certain reasons why fish are in certain locations.  A good place to do some research is the bait shop.  They speak with dozens of anglers each week and tend to know what species is biting and baits that work bestt.  Another good resource is the DNR website.  Each
Thursday they offer up tips and areas that are doing the best for fishing action.  Probably the best way to get some information is to talk with someone that you know that fishes often.  They might be able to give tips and even share a secret spot with you.  By doing some research, hopefully you will decide on the best place to go fishing.  Keep in mind that in the summer months, it is best to fish during the morning and evening hours, leaving out the middle part of the day. 


        The second thing to consider when taking children fishing is to make it a short trip.  There are plenty of lakes and ponds in all parts of the state that you will be able to catch some fish at.  Don’t overlook those public ponds inside the city limits, they often hold a lot of scrappy fish, perfect for kids.  Long rides in vehicles have never been a favorite of kids, so you wouldn’t want to start your fishing trip with one.  Try to make the entire experience around three or four hours.  You will be able to keep them active and excited about fishing for that length of time, if you stay out too long, they may never want to go again.

         Next, kids just want to catch fish.  Of course everyone wants to catch that huge fish every time they go fishing, but that doesn’t happen very often.  When it comes down to enjoying yourself, it is all about the catching.  If you and the child are catching fish they will soon forget about that dream of landing a huge one.  Make every effort to help the child catch fish, even if you might have to set the hook and let them reel it in.  Their entire goal is to catch fish, help them in any way to achieve that.

         This might be the most important part of a kid’s day on the lake or river; snacks and drinks!  Have plenty of these ready, they make for a great distraction if the fish aren’t biting very well. Anyway, who doesn’t like Pringles and a pop while fishing?

         Kids like to learn things, especially what they enjoy, so make the trip educational.  Teach the kids the proper terms of the tackle you are using, names of fish, what to call the bait or lures, and even explain to them what types of structure you are fishing.  The more they know the more they may become interested in fishing and a chance to make it a hobby in their future.

         When taking a child with you on a fishing trip, try and make it as positive as you can.  You know they will get snags, you know they will spill their pop or juice and need another one, you know they will ask at least 20 questions and you know that they will probably get a hook in you.  When these things happen, handle them as best you can and keep the mood light.  When the child does something good, make sure and tell them.  Whether it be a good cast or putting the worm on their hook just right, kids love to be told they are doing something right.  It will make them feel good and give them the confidence they need to try again and do it right.

         A day fishing with a youngster can be more than catching fish.  Make it a total outdoor experience.  Look for nature around the body of water that you are fishing and point it out to the child.  Things that could be pointed out are birds, small mammals and amphibians like turtles and frogs.  Kids will enjoy looking at the nature around them and allow them to concentrate on something other than their bobber for a while.  By taking a look at your surroundings you and the child will make it a true outdoor experience.

         Everyone loves a good picture; so don’t forget to take a camera.  Hopefully you will get a great shot of that youngster holding up their catch.  This will make for a great memory and might be treasured for a long time by them.  When taking outdoor pictures near water, make sure the camera is pointing away from the sun, water in the background will only make the picture look better.

         Finally, the most important thing is to take the proper safety precautions.  Sunscreen and a hat should be worn to protect the skin.  If out on a boat, all children under 14 years of age must wear a life jacket at all times, this might be a good idea if you are fishing on a bank that is close to the water too.  Safety should always be on your mind when taking a child near water, so keep them in sight throughout the day.

         Have fun out there and get a kid fishing as much as you can!

Monday, May 9, 2022

2022 Iowa High School Bass Team Championship Recap

For the fourth year in a row The Iowa High School Bass Team Championship, presented by SCHEELS took place in Eastern Iowa.  I was able to work some great companies to offer students from across the state a chance to compete in a bass tournament with some huge prizes.  The entry fee to this championship event is only $20 per boat, while we were able to give away a little more than $2,200 worth or fishing gear and trophies.  This event began with an idea I had, "Give any student in the state a tournament that they can fish, even if their school doesn't have a bass club."  It is open to any student in the state.  Here is the annual summary of this youth event:

May 7th, 2022 was a beautiful day at Pleasant Creek Lake for the 32 boats and 62 students to try and claim the top honors.  The event was started in 2019, Washington High School won that event, in 2020 it was Marion High School, and in 2021 Washington High School won again.  In 2022 there would be a different Champion.  On a slightly breezy day, winds out of the East at about 15mph, with temperatures in 60s and 70s it was the best Saturday of the entire spring season.  Mother Nature really allowed the kids to enjoy themselves and focus on fishing.  The results were very mixed, and this no doubt had to do with the weird spring we have been having.  Water temperatures on the main lake were hanging around 55 degrees, which is ideal, however those temperatures shot up in the two days prior to the event.  

1st Place Boat- Cedar Falls Tigers

I believe the bass really have not had the time to adjust to the warming temps and made for a tougher fishing day than it would appear.  Of the 32 boats that competed, 18 of them weighed fish in.  Only the top five teams were able to catch a limit of 5 bass, they included; 2 teams from ADM HS, Independence, Cedar Falls and Benton Community.  The team of Gavin and Kael from the Cedar Falls Tigers came away with the top honors on the day.  They weighed in 10.32# of largemouth bass to take first place.  Isaac and Kyler of ADM took second place with 9.25#, third place went to Wyatt of Benton Community with 8.65#.  Forth place went to Independence, which weighed in at 7.63#.  Rounding out the top 5 were Shay and Torin from ADM which had 6.81 pounds.   The Big Bass of the event went to Jarret and Kyler of MFL-Mar-Mac, they caught a 4.40# Smallmouth Bass.

In the "Team Championship", which includes the best two boats from each school,  ADM (Adel-DeSoto-Minburn) walked away with the 2022 championship as two of their boats placed in the top five individually.  Their combined team weight was 16.06#.  Second place was the team of Cedar Falls, they weighed in 13.69#.  The team that placed second in 2021 came away with third place this year; Independence had a team weight of 11.83#.  

2022 Team Champions: The ADM Tigers (Adel-DeSoto-Minburn)

The weather was great, a lot of fish weighed in, and over $2,000 worth of fishing equipment and prizes were handed to the next generation of bass anglers...what a great day!  Thank you sponsors for making this event possible: Scheels of Cedar Falls, Quantum Rods/Reels, Hot Rod Baits Bass Series, The Rod Glove, X-Zone Lures, and Cliff Keen Athletics.  

Please visit the event website for more details and check out all pictures on the Facebook page

Plans are already being made for the May 13th, 2023 event, stay tuned...

Morning Start with 32 boats