Fishing in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Fishing is Fun and Helps Build Family Ties

What is it about boating and fishing together that builds family ties? Fishing and boating can be wonderful ways to connect and keep families together. Ask anyone to tell you a fishing story and chances are you'll not only hear a great story but it will also involve someone in their family who took them fishing.

Fishing is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope. It's that shared hope, renewed time after time, where much of the magic lies.

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Fishing Your Way to Strong Family Ties
By Gordon McHenry

From start to finish, from planning the trip to sharing the catch, families build and keep traditions. In today's hurried world, we yearn for ways we can regain and perpetuate these family customs. But it goes beyond just the fishing and boating experience itself. The things that happen when you're on the water become lasting memories and stories. The telling and retelling of these stories become part of the family tradition which, over time, becomes family history, and even legend.

Family fishing traditions don't necessarily require everyone to fish. Sociologists call this “social world theory,” where experiences can be shared vicariously and still be personally meaningful to all involved. Just being there is often enough-sharing in the hope, helping with the preparation, eating the catch, and perhaps most important, telling the story.

Fishing and boating offer intergenerational and non-gender-based opportunities to have fun. Everyone has a chance to participate. Barriers are dropped, a common experience is established, and communication takes place in ways that can't be duplicated in any other setting.

Where fishing and boating happens, it happens away. Away from everyday routines. Away from stress. Away from home. It happens in new, adventure-filled places, and often where family stories have been built before. Being away together is an important part of building and sustaining a healthy family life.

Fishing is a shared experience for over 80 percent of Americans. It is part of our national tradition, something we understand as an important part of defining who we are. “Family” and “fishing” are words as joined together in America as “apple” and “pie.” Our fishing heritage as Americans is unique, and celebrating this together offers another dimension to our family experience.

Our 20th Annual Free Youth Fishing Derby is set for June 10 at Lake Gregory. It's the perfect time for some fun family fishing. Hope to see you there! Good fishing

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