Written By: Dayton Uttinger
Sometimes being on the water for hours at a time, completely alone except for the birds above and the fish below, is exactly what you need. The silence is soothing; the sway of the boat is calming; your own thoughts bobbing up and down with the floater, the outside world fades away.
Which is all very well and good every once in awhile. Other times, it can be a little lonely. There’s nothing quite like the banter in a boat, or being able to show off your catch right there instead of in a photograph three days later. Fishing is also an incredible bonding experience. Nature can be so silent that it forces anglers to have conversations that wouldn’t be had anywhere else. Plus, there’s no better way to get to know a person than waking up at four in the morning and trudging to the lake.
Problem is, many people don’t appreciate fishing, even the relatives of proper, red-blooded fishermen. And despite the many reasons to go fishing, some stubborn friends and family members don’t understand why we want to “sit in a boat for two hours and stare at the water.”
Those used to be my words. My grandfather tried to convince me to hunt, fish, camp, basically be outside, but his words couldn’t have fallen on worse ears. It wasn’t until I was eighteen that he made me realize what I was missing out on. But since I used to be a devout fishing-hater, I can tell you what their thought process is and how you can convince them otherwise.
“But it’s so boring.”
This was probably my most-used objection to fishing as a teenager. Understandably, given our significantly lowering attention spans, I didn’t have the patience that fishing requires. I didn’t know how to appreciate something that didn’t instantly gratify me.
However, this problem is easily solved. You just have to adapt a bit. The type of fishing that you might enjoy- sitting in silence for hours on a calm lake, playing the long game with a stubborn fish- is not going to be interesting to the impatient. Be prepared to do more than just fish at first. Eat lunch, swim, let them bring a book along, whatever it takes. The important thing is that they are on the water with you. Eventually, they will learn to appreciate the longer game too.
When you hear this complaint, it’s time to overcompensate. They were obviously miserable last time they went. Ask what the problem was. If they were too hot, make sure they’re dressed appropriately and bring plenty of cold water. If they were too cold, make sure they have layered clothing that’s designed to keep them warm. Bring bug spray, sunscreen, Mom’s cookies, whatever it takes to fix the situation. Go above and beyond this time and they’ll want to repeat the experience.
Some of your friends and family might be a little feeble-stomached. If they don’t want to eat the fish they catch, don’t force them to. They might not want to, but never assume they’re less of a fisherman because of that. Let them release their fish with no comment. If they feel accepted, they’ll be more likely to come out again.
Also, just rig any live bait for them. Some people don’t want to touch slimy worms or minnows. It’s silly, yeah, but you’re not going to convince them otherwise. Just do it until they are comfortable doing it themselves.
“I’m afraid of the water.”
This can be a difficult one to tackle. In this case, you have to overcome a fear instead of a simple distaste. Not everyone is comfortable in the water. Some have had a scarring experience, and others don’t know how to swim. First, ease their fears by following proper water safety regulations, including wearing life jackets. Ask what depth of water they’d be comfortable in and plan accordingly. Encourage them to push their limits, but don’t bully them. If all else fails, you can always try surf fishing.
After taking this advice into consideration, you’ll only be fishing alone when you want to. However, all of these steps will take time. Don’t expect a change of heart overnight. It will be gradual, but it’ll also be long-lasting. As we all know, once fishing reels you in, you’re never getting off the hook.
Dayton Uttinger writes for fun and socializes for a living.She resides in Boise,ID, the best place to learn everything about the outdoors that she missed out on.