What to do when the spawn is in the boat
  |  First Published: April 2017

Just about every fishing magazine I pick up to read through will have a column trying to give me a guilty conscience about how I’ve got to take my kids fishing. If I don’t take my kids fishing, apparently, I should be taken up before the UN Human Rights Commission for breaching their inalienable rights to proper exposure to quality recreational facilities. That’s the kid’s rights, not the UN Human Rights Commission’s rights. Right?

Anyway, according to the article, if you don’t take the kids out every time you go fishing they’ll become axe murderers or NSW supporters or something. It’s your duty as a parent to entertain the little buggers. And they make it sound so easy.

And to make it even easier, most of these articles will give you lists of the things that you can take along on your fun time. I would like to add some notes to their notes for those of you who are new to taking kids out on trips to make it easier for you to survive. Forget about having fun. Taking kids is about getting you, and more importantly them, to the end of the day.

Take some food, they say. Maybe some fruit and some celery stalks. Yeah right. Fruit will be thrown at something or someone. Probably you, while you’re untangling their line. This is an effort to distract you and call the trip off, so they can go back to their computer. Don’t fall for it. Or do, I don’t care, they’re your kids.

As for the celery stalks, just let me say that older kids love their younger siblings’ noses, and celery stalks will fit if inserted with force. The only things they will reliably eat are composed of at least 99% sugar. You can feel the buzz coming off them from the distance of a surf rod cast. I know, I’ve done it with a six ball sinker. Still didn’t slow them down.

Take lots of water, they say. Yep, I’ll agree with that. But be prepared for them to have none left within half an hour of arriving no matter how many 44’s you take. Endless university studies have attempted to answer the crucial question of where it goes without success. Most of it will end up on your leg just before you get back into the car for the trip home.

Hats and sunscreen must be taken. Hats are great, because putting them back on heads take up those valuable seconds you have between untangling lines, baiting hooks and removing celery sticks (see above). Sunscreen serves as a valuable UV protectant on most of the interior of the car.

Keep it interesting for them is further advice. Let them hunt for fish like whiting or bream to keep them interested and engaged. Of course, they’ll only be engaged if they’re catching a fish every twenty seconds and only if that happens to be something toothy or toxic with which they can threaten other members of the family.

All of these suggestions are great, but they’re obviously written for kids unlike mine. From my perspective, crucial equipment is much simpler: take a gurney, a desktop and a 30” monitor. Crank it up beside the water and leave ‘em to it. That way you can get some serious fishing time under your belt. And some sugar lollies too.

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