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Tradition of fishing needs to be passed along

People who enjoy fishing and other outdoor sports would do well this year to consider giving a different sort of gift as we celebrate the Christmas season.

Instead of rods, reels, clothing and accessories, anglers might consider giving back to the sport they have grown to love.

We all enjoy getting and giving Christmas packages packed with the lures, tackle and gear that make fishing fun and catching more likely. Well-crafted rods and reels, cool-looking shirts and high-tech electronics are sure to cause big grins across the land on Christmas morning.

Then again, lifetimes of fishing will generate bountiful benefits for those with whom we share our experience, expertise and enthusiasm.

While I am certain I would have discovered something to entertain me as much as fishing had I never been introduced to rod and reel, I am grateful that Dad and others found the time and inspiration to get me pointed in the right direction.

We need to come to terms with our responsibility to pass our passion to a new generation.

It may seem cheesy to present a card with a voucher for a fishing trip next spring. So if that’s not your style, find a moment to make a simple promise to a relative, friend, coworker or neighbor you believe would be up for sharing a day on the lake with you.

Our world is an increasingly busy place. Everybody is pulled in dozens of directions. Distractions are everywhere. It is not as much of a forgone conclusion today for young people to automatically gravitate to fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits of their elders.

The plethora of options in our 21st century lives dilute interest in fishing. Many states, including Ohio, are reporting declining sales of fishing licenses.

You can play a role in assuring a future for the sport. Do not assume you have nothing to share when, in fact, you have the potential to be a positive influence. The thrills you have experienced in your days on the water are very likely to generate the same reactions in newbies you bring to the sport.

Opportunities are numerous.

Fish and game clubs present teaching seminars for which you can volunteer. Groups like Harry Emmerling’s Student Fishing League welcome guest speakers. Local schools, your church and your community park all are possible hosts for a workshop to introduce newcomers to fishing. You might organize a Saturday morning outing for the kids of your coworkers.

Bringing children along in the sport is important, but that is not the only wellspring for new anglers. You probably know a dozen or more adults who might say yes to an invitation for a day on the lake.

That simple invitation from you could very well be the best Christmas gift the person ever received.

Jack Wollitz is a writer and angler who enjoys knowing others are experiencing the thrill of fishing and catching. He also likes emails from readers. Send a note to Jack at jackbbaass@gmail.com.

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