Free fishing weekend perfect chance for introductionMay 24, 2019
Column by Brandon Butler
The best things in life are free. Indiana is attempting to prove this theory by offering free fishing statewide on June 1 and June 2. No license is required, but all other laws remain in effect, including limits and size restrictions.
Fishing is one of America’s favorite outdoor recreation activities. Yet, there are millions of Hoosiers who have never known the pleasure of dunking worms to eager fish. On June 1 and 2, consider introducing a non-fishing friend or family member to the joys of angling.
If you decide to take a person fishing during this weekend who doesn’t have experience, keep two very important things in mind. One, fishing is meant to be fun and nothing is more fun than catching fish. So pursue a species, like bluegill or catfish, which is plentiful and easy to catch. Two, keep it simple. Don’t put a baitcaster in the hands of someone who doesn’t know how to cast one. Use basic equipment that operates with ease.
As for bait, there are two ways you can go here. The bobber and live bait method is my preferred tactic for beginners. To be honest, it is still my preferred tactic for myself, too. The bobber and live bait route is fool proof and chances are sooner or later a fish is going to swim by and take your offering. If you are dealing with a person with patience, then this is how I’d go.
On the other hand, if you are introducing someone to fishing who is more of an active person, then you may want to have them fish with a lure that requires casting and reeling. An artificial lure, like a road runner or a beetle spin, will require the person to stay engaged and helps eliminate opportunities for boredom to creep into the experience.
Indiana is flush with angling opportunity. Again, though, I encourage you to keep it simple. Fish where you expect to catch fish. Even if you have personally progressed to the point as an angler that requires catching big fish to get excited, the beginner has not. They just need to catch fish.
Chances are you’re going to catch more fish out of a strip pit in the Greene-Sullivan State Forest than you are out of the Wabash River. Put thought into where you have caught a lot of fish in the past and use that spot to build enthusiasm in your new angler.
There is nothing greater than passing on a love of the outdoors to another who has yet to experience what you already know. Youth, 17 and younger, are not required to have a fishing license, so they are always free. Because youth are always free to fish, free fishing weekend is really a great opportunity to focus on introducing adults to the wonders of fishing.
Make a tradition of out the free fishing weekend. Tell yourself on this weekend, every year, I am going to share my love of fishing with another adult who I know will benefit recreationally, emotionally and even spiritually from spending time in the outdoors. If they have children, that’s even better. Bring them along and give a family the gift of angling.
Keep in mind too, that a fish fry at the end of a fishing adventure is a great motivator for future trips. After your friends or family taste the wonders of fresh fish from a pot of peanut oil, they may be bugging you to go fishing more often than you’d like.
See you down the trail…
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