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Art Lander’s Outdoors: Why we fish — It’s about the people, the places and the shared experiences

The reasons why we fish haven’t changed over time.

It’s about the people, the place and the fish, all coming together on a warm spring afternoon, or on a fall morning, when the fog begins to burn off, revealing the trees along the shoreline ablaze with color.

Fishing is something anyone — regardless of age, gender, or previous outdoor experience — can learn. To children, fishing is magic, like planting a row of seeds in the garden, what happens next is hard to comprehend.

(Photo courtesy of Take a Kid Fishing Foundation)

It does not take long to discover how much there is to appreciate about fishing — the scenery, the relaxation, spending time with family and friends, but most of all those beautiful finned creatures. Hold a shiny, green bass in your hands and that is all the proof you need that nature is infinitely more wondrous than the works of man.

At its best as dawn and dusk, when light and color are heightened, fishing is a wonderful way to start or end the day.

Rising before the sun comes up and going fishing is a celebration of life. The air is so fresh and clean at sunrise.

At the close of the day, we can all give thanks for another day of life spent doing what we enjoy so much.

Catch a Rainbow Kids Fishing Derby at Hatchery Creek (Photo from Lake Cumberland Tourist Commission)

Fishing rejuvenates our spirits and sets our minds at ease. Fishing wipes the slate clean, especially at times of stress and uncertainty.

Fishing is generational.

My parents loved to fish, and showed me the joys and rewards of angling. My wife fished as a child and her father, who managed their family’s fish restaurant, passed on to her the culinary secrets of preparing great-tasting fish and the classic side dishes.

We introduced our kids to fishing at an early age and hope to take our grandkids fishing when they are older.

When you take children fishing, you can’t help but relive some of your childhood fishing memories in the process. Fishing teaches patience and self-confidence, but more importantly, it fosters an understanding of how nature can provide for us, if we manage resources competently, with a vision for the future.

Kids fishing Derby at Cave Run Lake (Photo from KDFWR)

Children are eager to learn about nature, especially those who have little if any contact with the outdoors. Today roughly 80 percent of Americans live in cities or surrounding metropolitan areas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

That’s one reason why the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) created the Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) program in 2006, to provide anglers with quality fishing opportunities close to home. The program currently includes 44 small lakes statewide.

Numerous Take a Kid Fishing days and special events are held around the state annually.

More and more of our youth are growing up completely out of touch with nature at a time when we all need to be more attuned to the complex interrelationships of plants and animals, air and water.

When you introduce children to fishing, you are teaching them more than how to bait a hook, run the boat, or carve out fish fillets — you are showing them by example that to love is to teach and share.

Art Lander Jr. is outdoors editor for the Northern Kentucky Tribune. He is a native Kentuckian, a graduate of Western Kentucky University and a life-long hunter, angler, gardener and nature enthusiast. He has worked as a newspaper columnist, magazine journalist and author and is a former staff writer for Kentucky Afield Magazine, editor of the annual Kentucky Hunting & Trapping Guide and Kentucky Spring Hunting Guide, and co-writer of the Kentucky Afield Outdoors newspaper column.

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