July 22, 2010 at 1:45 pm
Teaching children to fish is both rewarding and challenging, especially when working with a large group of children at one time. I always strive to provide an opportunity for the kids I work with to go on an actual fishing trip but sometimes it just isn't realistic. Enter - Backyard Bass. I was first introduced to this tool when it was endorsed by the Future Fisherman Foundation. It's a very simple concept: plastic casting targets in the shape of fish that come in a variety of bright colors. Tie a small weighted casting plug on the end of a fishing line and you have yourself an amazingly simple and effective tool to introduce children to fishing and to safely teach them to cast accurately. I'll also add - a really great way to entertain a group of children for a significant period of time. The more I have used them the more I have grown to love and depend on them as a tool with the Hooked on Fishing program. I have even found creative ways to use them. [caption id="attachment_87" align="alignright" width="300"] Teaching casting skills with backyard bass before fishing at the field day at Bryant Pond 4-H Learning Center[/caption] Most importantly, anytime I begin a learn to fish event with a group of children it is incredibly important to always keep safety in mind. Backyard Bass provides me with a tool to teach children to cast over their shoulder in a skilled and accurate way always aware of who and what is around them before a hook is tied to the line. This has prevented a lot of accidents and frustration from beginner anglers over the years. Backyard Bass aren't just for kids! I've had plenty of adults enjoy them and learn with them as well. A starter kit of Backyard Bass can be purchased from Ironwood Pacific $9.95 plus shipping. Proceeds support the Future Fisherman Foundation. They're a great tool for teachers, camp counselors, scout leaders, parents, etc. There is even a community website dedicated to Backyard Bass with instruction on how to use them, ideas and shared experiences. Best fishes!