by Capt. Tom Bailas
I cannot think of a better way to spend time with kids than fishing. In today’s world of cell phones, video games, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and surfing the web, our kids are over-stimulated. They are in desperate need of more outdoor activity. When you are way offshore and out of cell phone range, there is nothing but good old-fashioned one-on-one time and fun conversations being had. All three of my children have been raised to be on the water fishing and hunting in the woods. Most of my best memories are of fishing with them.
I recently took my youngest daughter, Kali who is 14, and one of our neighbor kids, Jace, out for a fun day offshore. We ran 32 miles out to our first and only stop. The fish were biting immediately and we had some mangrove snapper and porgies in the box, using some hand-picked jumbo shrimp for bait. As the morning moved on, the snapper were steadily getting bigger. Kali landed a 7lb mangrove and was so excited, then 2 minutes later Jace landed one about the same size. The smiles were priceless and the fish kept on biting. Our catch consisted of some big porgies, mangroves, yellowtail and vermilion snapper. We quickly went through 15 dozen shrimp, but the kids wanted to keep fishing, so I pulled out some sardines. I was reluctant to use them because they get soft and sometimes fall off the hook easily, but I said let’s see how they work out with the kids fishing today. Well not 30 seconds later, Kali instantly hooked a huge fish, that ended up being a 10lb. mangrove snapper. It gave her a great battle and she did an awesome job getting it to the surface. Well that left Jace wanting a bigger one too, so he dropped his sardine and instantly got slammed. Low and behold, it was another 10lb. mangrove snapper!
At this point, I was chomping at the bit to get in on the action myself, as I was busy with taking the kids’ fish off. I saw a tinker mackerel in the sardine box and my first thought was “I am going to get a huge mangrove from this bait”. I sent the bait down with a 30lb conventional rod and got a hard bite. After a few seconds of reeling, it breaks me off. So, I dropped another and ended up with some nice snapper as well. We used the whole box and had reached our limit on snappers. We ended up throwing back several nice fish to catch another day. What an amazing day I had fishing with my daughter and Jace. I can’t think of a better time spent together without the distractions of today’s technical world.
Take your kids fishing!!