Fishing for the First Time
Last updated on May 20, 2011 at 10:21 AM

I have a treasured photo of me as a 5-year-old, holding a crappie that I caught in 1969. I don't know if it was my first fish, but there's a good chance that it was. Back in those days, my family made occasional trips to a relative's cottage on the Mississippi River. That's where my father taught me to fish.

I wrote an article for Him magazine, published today in the Telegraph Herald, about teaching your child to fish. (Click here to view.)

I recall that August day in 2005, when I took my sons Grant and Brian, then 5 and 3, to Heritage Pond for their first outing. Their younger brother, Andrew, was just a few months old and stayed home with his mom.

Fortunately the fish were biting that day. They were small, but that's all we needed. Brian (pictured, at center) got on the board first with a bluegill. Grant followed suit.

Brian landed another sunfish, as well as one of the smallest bass I've ever seen. Grant caught a second bluegill and surprised us all by reeling in the painted turtle that had been popping up its head nearby. And of course the day was not complete without one of the boys dropping his Mickey Mouse pole into the water.

Andrew's turn came in 2007, when our family of five crammed into a resort boat to fish a northern Wisconsin lake. His first catch was a rock bass. He gave me the honor of holding it for the photo.

Some day, when my sons teach their children how to fish, I hope they look back on their first adventures with as much fondness as I do.

Share your angling tales, tips and information. E-mail Mike at
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