The iconic image of a father and son fishing trip is one that’s ingrained into the collective cultural consciousness. Even the classic sitcom images of Andy and Opie sharing a heart-to-heart over a fishing creel cements the American idea of fishing as a male-bonding activity.
As a father, spending time with your son is an important part of his emotional development, as well as a contributing factor to your filial bond.
Here are ten of the reasons why you should take your son fishing, and understand that you’re actually doing something far more important.
- The Opportunity for Quality Father-Son Time – In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s not easy to set aside a significant amount of time to spend one-on-one with your son. Taking a fishing trip, whether it’s an extensive one that will require an overnight stay or just an afternoon affair, allows you to focus all of your energy and attention on your son.
- Fostering Conversations You Wouldn’t Have at Home – The quiet stillness of a lake and the relaxing nature of waiting for fish to bite fosters plenty of conversation, some of which would be awkward to broach over the dinner table. The natural evolution of your talks can lead to more than one subject you probably wouldn’t discuss under other circumstances.
- Passing Along a New Skill Set– In a world where youngsters teach their parents the intricacies of new technology, it can feel like there isn’t much left in terms of skills that fathers pass on to their sons. The age-old art of baiting a hook to catch fish is a real skill, and it’s one that your child can’t fully learn from a YouTube video.
- Making Memories You’ll Cherish Forever – As your son gets older and becomes less inclined to spend time with his parents, you’ll have the memories of your shared fishing trips. When he becomes an adult himself, those memories will become fodder for pleasant reminiscence.
- Encouraging Independence Under a Watchful Eye – You can encourage your son to bait his own hook and cast his own line while you’re there to watch, allowing him to explore some independence as you look on to ensure his safety.
- Instilling a Love of Outdoor Activity – For outdoorsy fathers, the opportunity to share a love of nature with a son is a valuable one. Instilling a love of the outdoors and an appreciation for fresh air, sunshine and screen-free entertainment is a great way to combat the effects of technologically-advanced, indoor-based living.
- Temporarily Cutting the Electronic Cord – There are no video games, televisions or computers on the lake, which means that for at least one afternoon your son will be enjoying a completely low-tech good time. What better way to limit your son’s screen time than to take him somewhere that screens aren’t welcome, but fun is still on the menu?
- Investing in Your Collective Emotional Future – In order to have a strong father-son relationship, you have to forge a strong emotional bond with your son while he’s still young. Fishing together allows the two of you to get to know one another as individuals, to talk openly and enjoy one another’s company.
- Teaching Environmental Stewardship – When you’re on the lake enjoying an outdoor activity, you’re perfectly positioned to pass along the basic tenets of environmental stewardship without seeming like you’re lecturing or preaching. In fact, you can guide your son in the right direction simply by modeling earth-friendly habits.
- Establishing a Shared Hobby – A shared hobby allows you and your son a bit of common ground, something that will become even more important as he gets older and looks for ways to assert his independence. The love of fishing that the two of you share during his formative years may be one of the few ways you’re able to effectively communicate during the turbulent times of adolescence.
No matter how many lessons and exciting experiences you share with your son on a fishing trip, it’s important to remember that young children have a finite supply of patience with any activity that requires them to be relatively still. You might be thrilled to stay on the lake from dawn till dusk, but your little man will probably only be able to handle one or two hour sessions scattered throughout the day. Remember to take plenty of breaks, and to be patient when your own fishing time is interrupted by an active little boy’s need to explore.