This summer my landlocked city kid discovered fishing. (It may or may not be in his genes.) Cottage weekends are few and far between, but he has savoured every last minute of them fishing rod in hand waiting patiently for a bite.

While fishing is not my summer pastime, I’ve loved watching him fall in love with it — waking at the crack of dawn, throwing on his clothes (usually inside out and backwards) and racing to the dock. Sometimes, he’ll be casting in his pjs until someone arrives to take him onto the lake where there is nothing but the sound of loons and the odd splash as the sun rises.


This is why fishing is fantastic for kids:

Learning about nature: It’s inevitable, when you’re smack dab in the middle of a lake, you will be fielding questions about the sights and sounds of nature. And it’s all about learning by doing, understanding the important messages of catch and release, and keeping only what you’ll eat.

A practice in patience: Umm, how can I get him to sit this still at home? It’s amazing how long he and his little brother will sit and sit quietly as they wait for a fish to nibble on their line. And sometimes they’ll spend hours without even a bite.

Teamwork: There is friendly competition that runs in my husband’s family. The annual fishing derby lasts all summer long but everyone knows that catching the biggest fish happens through teamwork. It’s always a celebration when someone finally gets one and it’s all hands on deck to help reel it in, secure the flopping fish into the net and weigh it.

Responsibility and safety: Those hooks are damn sharp and quite frankly nearly give me a heart attack when I watch his little fingers dig through the tackle box. But I am so impressed how the youngest of fisherman can learn about how to properly manage a fishing rod and adhere to ‘cottage rules’ to water and boat safety.

Making memories: Family time is the best time and these moments with his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are among his favourite. The tales about fishing are told and retold long after we leave the lake.

Do you have family fishing traditions?