MAY 2019 FEATURED ARTICLE
Capt. Charlie Newton – Redfish Charters in Rockport, TX
Teach Kids To Fish While You Can
If any of you have followed my articles in the past, you have seen my grandkids grow up through the years. Grandson Aerich Oliver is my best fishing buddy. He has replaced me as captain. He received his captain’s license as soon as he could get one!
It seems like yesterday I took him fishing for the first time. I will never forget the first time I took him in the boat without MeMe (my wife BJ). At age 3 he loved to go in the boat and fish with us. MeMe was busy and couldn’t go fishing that day and I decided to take him by myself he was 4 years old. We started out putting the life jacket on, and launching the boat. I backed the boat off the trailer and everything was going great. Aerich wanted to sit in the boat tied to the dock while I parked the truck and trailer which was a matter of about 50 feet. I agreed reluctantly, he already knew how to swim and he had his life jacket on, but I didn’t think about what would happen next! He looked down at the water and it was moving (even though the boat was tied securely to the dock) in his mind he imagined that the boat was floating away and he would be gone forever. He went into hysterics and I do mean hysterics. I had never taken my eyes off of him in the boat and I couldn’t imagine why he was screaming and crying so loudly, so I went running back and I literally couldn’t get him to quit screaming. He wanted out of the boat and that was all I could get him to say.
I called MeMe and she came to the dock to console him and he told her what was wrong, that the boat was going to float away without Pappaw. He then refused to go fishing or get back into the boat that day. I learned a valuable lesson from that. Afterward, to this day he is ready anytime I say let’s go. A future fishing guide was created that day!
One day, Aerich’s teacher asked the class who wanted to go to college, and Aerich was the first one to raise his hand. The teacher asking proudly “Aerich tell the class why you want to go to college.” She was expecting a different answer than the one she got, but kids will be honest. Aerich’s reply was “I want to go to college because my mom said I couldn’t be a fishing guide unless I go to college”. Aerich lives and breathes fishing and hunting. He went every time I could take him and we had a fantastic time. He already knew how to run the boat and go to any of the fishing areas that I fished. I’m a really proud Pappaw and will share as many stories as you want to listen to about the fun fishing and hunting trips we had. My other fishing buddy is granddaughter Allycia, she loved the boat and loved to go fishing but was more interested in just boat riding and seeing the birds and dolphins play than in fishing. She also liked to dissect the bait to see what was inside of them and to see what they were eating. Of course she loved to pick up shells while I was cast netting for bait. But if you handed her a pole she got excited about the fish also, she wasn’t into watching for the first wiggle of the pole. Aerich and MeMe used to race to the first pole, I think she let him win most of the time.
Several questions arise when it comes to kids and what age to take them fishing. Don’t wait. Some parents think a child needs to be half grown to take them fishing. I disagree with this. Children of all ages can learn the love of fishing at a very early age. Age 3 is not too soon to buy them a character rod and push button reel. Let them learn early. As the child gets older and grows, purchase a bigger and better rod and reel. Take them along the banks of any water area, saltwater or fresh water. The delight in their eyes when they catch their first fish is a sight to behold. Their eyes sparkle like diamonds and their smile is all over their faces.
Remember to take the camera along. Don’t stay too long on a trip, kids do wear out and their attention span isn’t very long. Let them be the judge as to when they are ready to go. The older they get the longer they want to stay and fish. I used to do half-day trips for both adults and kids. The half-day trips were about 4 hours of fishing time as opposed to the full days which were about 7 hours. On my charter trips if the fish weren’t biting in one particular area then we didn’t stay there very long. I would move the boat to a different area. There are many different places that I fished. I sometimes moved the boat as many as 20 times trying to find the fish. That was my goal to put people on some really nice redfish and a bag full of fillets to take home. If we caught other species of fish that was great also, but I mainly targeted redfish. Some people say I think like a redfish because I usually brought in a box of them. I also put out a lot of jokes, stories and tales throughout the day.
Safety is a big thing with the little ones. In Texas, a child under the age of 13 is required to have a life jacket on anytime the boat is underway, even if they know how to swim. The boat must be anchored or tied to a dock for the rule not to apply. Another issue that I consider to be a safety issue is Sunscreen. Everyone burns easily in the sun and saltwater reflections and on cloudy and windy days too. Smart Shield is the only sunscreen that I know about that doesn’t affect the bait or bait tank water, and works wonderfully. You usually don’t have to put it on more than once in a day. You can even squirt it into the live bait tank and it doesn’t bother the live bait, mullet or shrimp. Smart Shield comes in several types, sizes, and applicators. For the hard to get areas, I used the spray so I knew the child was covered properly. I used the lip balm on my lips regularly and the tube stick on the nose and cheek areas.
Another area of safety is to know where the child or other fishermen are in the boat before casting out. You don’t want to hook them upon casting. In Texas a child doesn’t have to have a fishing license until they reach their 17th birthday. Texas Parks & Wildlife does sell a special permit for a child for them to be able to keep an oversized redfish that they catch. To purchase this, their Social Security number is required. We caught some really nice oversized reds and it is advisable to purchase this oversized redfish permit for your children. It can be purchased anywhere that licenses are sold. It would be sad for a child to throw back their first big redfish because they didn’t have a tag. Texas Parks & Wildlife offers a boater safety course to children at age 12 and it is advisable for them to take this course. Please be patient with children: Think back to when you were a kid (boy that was a long time ago for me), and remember how you felt when a grown up made fun of your mistakes. Make the kids time spent in the boat fun and enjoyable.
Remember, in my opinion children who learn the enjoyment of fishing at a young age will remember who took them fishing and the fun they had for a lifetime. Maybe they will stay interested in fishing for a lifetime as I have and stay off drugs and other things. To give you an example of this: A man in his late 50’s called me and said he had been looking for me for several years. I didn’t recall him by name but when he explained who he was and that I had taken him fishing when he was 6 and I was about 13 then. He remembered me and wanted me to take him fishing again, I couldn’t believe I made such an impression on him. Impressions on a child last a lifetime.
Master Marine, San Antonio, TX www.681boat.com is an awesome boat dealership and can make you a great deal on a new or used boat. Check out their website or give them a call 210 681-2628. Make this summer “funner” than any in the past. Take a kid fishing or take time out to take your family fishing, you will not regret it. If you’re interested in booking a fishing trip with Redfish Charters, call my wife BJ and set up your fishing trip with our newest captain, Aerich Oliver. Get your date set up and on the calendar now. Call (361) 729-8220 and be sure to check out all the new photos on each page of our website ~ www. redfishcharters.com.