The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates about 33 million Americans go fishing at least once every year. But only 27 percent of those anglers are women. That means guys are leaving the families behind to enjoy their favorite pastime.
There’s a big difference between a fisherman and a “bassaholic.” Hard-core Bass anglers eat and sleep the sport, and sometimes act like 7-year-old kids on their way to Disneyland before each fishing trip. The key to convincing the wives and children to take family vacations centered around fishing is tailoring the experience to their everyday lives. These three tips will help:
Rise and Shine
Comedian Dave Chappelle once said chivalry is dead because women killed it. It’s our jobs as men, husbands and boyfriends to resurrect this integral component to love and happiness. What better way to do so than making it part of a fishing trip.
It’s no secret that the best time to hook Bass is the early morning before sunrise. Plan a dawn fishing trip one or two weekends after going shopping or watching a “Real Housewives” marathon with her. Let the missus pick her own lures, rod and reel at the tackle shop, even if the equipment isn’t necessarily made for bass fishing.
The most important and convincing part of the trip is watching the sunrise together and having fun. Launch your boat before sunrise so you can experience that together. Or if you’re fishing from shore, lay a blanket on the ground, snuggle up and face east. There’s nothing more romantic than the sun’s rays revealing themselves over the horizon and warming your bodies literally and figuratively. Make sure to tell her how beautiful she looks in that lighting and talk about some of your most fond memories.
If you play your cards right, she’ll want to do whatever makes you happy for the next several hours (fishing). You’ll know it was a successful trip if the two of you are also able to watch the sun set.
A 2014 survey by Edison Research found that 74 percent of American kids aged 12-17 own a smartphone. A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that the average kid ages 8-18 spends 7.5 hours per day consuming and sharing media on their smartphones. The Pew Research Center estimates kids of that same age group send about 60 text messages per day. In other words, if you want your kids to enjoy fishing with you, incorporate their smartphones into the activity.
Gets the kids interested by using smartphone-compatible sonar apps. Deeper’s Smart Portable Fish Finder combines a mobile app and sonar device that communicate with each another via Bluetooth. Simply tie the sonar device to your fishing line, cast and watch the kids’ eyes light up. It sends images back to the smartphone revealing the location of fish, major dropoffs and submerged debris.
FishHunter is another sonar system controlled by a mobile app. The functionality is similar to Deeper’s product, but the display is much more colorful and detailed. Those Samsung Galaxy S6 and other phones with 5-plus-inch screens provide a video game feel to the fishing experience. Even if the sonar data isn’t 100 percent accurate, ask the kids to point out where the fish and other obstacles are located to keep them involved and interested.
Use Common Sense
Men fortunate enough to have wives who want to please them should never take advantage of that honor. Once you convince her to get in your boat, put on a waders or join you from shore and experience your favorite hobby together, it’s your job to let her know you appreciate and enjoy her company.
Never make fun or discourage her if she screams at the site of a large catfish or is squeamish about touching them. Don’t force her to do it all solo. Put the worm on the hook for her and even cast the line and let her just wait for the fish to bite.
Women are likely to care about the welfare of the fish, so either throw them back or put them on a stringer immediately if you plan to eat them. Of course, a lot of good, old-fashioned encouragement (fake or otherwise) will make her feel good about their first catch.
It’s unreasonable to expect your loved ones to feel the sort of excitement you do when it comes to fishing. But if you present the hobby to them the right way, they’ll at least appreciate your appreciation for the sport.