By Captain David Lifka

Getting the kids outdoors and teaching them to appreciate the beauty and splendor around them isn’t as easy as it was a generation or two ago. After all, in the privacy and comfort of one’s home, kids are able to visit anywhere in the world, fight a battle, slay a dragon and drive a race car — all while lying in bed sipping a soda. The great outdoors is in serious competition with today’s technology as the need and desire for many kids to get outside remains on the decline.

Fortunately there is an outdoor activity that is ready to compete with today’s indoor alternatives. This is an activity that the whole family can participate in, an activity that can lead to other outdoor activities, an activity that can help all that participate learn to appreciate all the beauty and splendor in the outdoors around them. This activity has been enjoyed and practiced for thousands of years. This activity is known as fishing.

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Fishing is the perfect activity that the entire family can enjoy. Starting at the earliest ages and stretching well into the retirement years, fishing offers fun, relaxation and sport, along with a realization and appreciation of many of natural wonders that surround you.

Beginning with the youngsters, a few pieces of bread and a $10 “Super Hero” push button fishing rod is all that is needed to introduce any kid to fishing. A few years later you and the kids can expand to a larger rod, a tackle box and some artificial baits.

Nearby creek fishing or kayak fishing is now getting the whole family out for an enjoyable afternoon. A trip to the beach and surf fishing soon becomes part of your weekend’s plans and before you know it, you are renting or buying a boat and making vacation plans around your fishing activities.

Fishing is an activity that the entire family can enjoy even though the entire family may not enjoy fishing. When fishing with the youngsters, make it an adventure. Call their attention to the turtles in the pond and the dragonflies on the lily pads while sharing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As your fishing expands, point out the ospreys in the sky, different flowers in bloom and the reflections of cypress trees on the water. Let fishing become an opportunity to capture pictures as much as catching fish.

Kayak fishing opens the door to exploring waterways and habitats. Sightseeing shorelines becomes as big a part of the day as the actual fishing. A beautiful sunrise followed by dolphins chasing fish in the morning waves makes for a memorable day of surf fishing. Enjoy a boat ride to take you places on the water you’ve never been before, followed by an afternoon swim in the river when the fishing slows, finishing with a dockside dinner at a seafood restaurant.

These events and more are what makes fishing more than fishing. Fishing is the perfect activity for the entire family to enjoy as fishing opens avenues to so much more than catching fish.

Fishing Report: Due to a mild winter, weakfish have been biting strong at Marker 18 in Green Cove Springs. Dead shrimp have been working well, but a cut piece of croaker could produce a nice one. Reds on docks from Buckman to Green Cove.

Whether you catch one, some or none, the family time spent fishing will last a lifetime.

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