We have all heard the old expression “If you want to keep something alive, teach it to your children.”

Well, the sport of bass fishing is no different. If all of us who love the sport want to keep it alive for future generations then we must do our part in inspiring young people to fish and keep the sport alive.

I have two grandsons, whom I love very much, that are both now grown. When they were younger we used to go fishing together every time we had them for any length of time.

I don’t think there was anything more inspiring than watching their faces when they finally hooked up with a good fish. But it seems the older they got, the less we went, and the less they wanted to go.

Why? Because there was always something else that got in the way of our going. And now they are both grown adults, have jobs, girlfriends and careers, so now it’s almost impossible for us to get the time together to go out with each other.

I miss the times we went out immensely. I always ask myself, “where did I go wrong? What should I have done to make it more exciting and enjoyable for them? What should I have done to instill those memories that would have inspired them to continue fishing, even if Granddaddy couldn’t take them fishing and they went out on their own?”

I can tell you now that if you love the sport of bass fishing and you have a son, daughter or grandson, get them excited about it and take them fishing as often as you and they have the time to go. That is the only way that we are going to be able to keep our sport alive and well in the future.

I am excited to see how much the collegiate bass fishing teams have grown over the past few years.

Almost every major college now has a team and they compete regionally and nationally. These young men are the ones you and I are going to see on the pro circuits of the future. With BASS and Forest Wood getting more and more involved at this level, we can be sure that it will grow rapidly into something that every college wants to have — a proficient bass fishing team.

I can just imagine how quickly I would have tried out for the fishing team had they been around during my college days. This level is also a great stepping stone for these young men to vault into either the FLW or the Elite series after they graduate from college.

I am also inspired by how many high schools are now establishing fishing teams.

Louisiana is probably at the forefront of this program where almost every high school has a fishing team.

Yes, there are some here in Texas, but nowhere near the density that Louisiana has.

One of my Bass Club members is a boat captain for one of the local school teams and he loves it. It’s time consuming and demanding, but it is another way to insure that the sport of bass fishing stays alive and well in this great nation of ours.

Our club, Copperas Cove Bass Club, works with the city Parks and Recreation Department to sponsor a once-a-year event called “Fishing in the Park.” Cove has a small lake at its central park and we help put on the event for the kids and their families.

There is nothing more inspiring, and fun, than watching a 3-, 4- or 5-year-old catch their first fish on their own rod and reel.

The city stocks the lake with trout just before the event, and we help the kids learn how to put their rods together, how to cast and how to set the hook when the fish bites.

Prizes are awarded to the kids who catch their limit of fish, and the biggest fish. We also put on a casting contest and seminars to help the kids learn about sport fishing and the rules and laws we have to go by. Its great fun. My wife said I couldn’t stop talking about it for a week.

So next year, when you hear Cove is having there “Fishing in the Park,” pack a picnic lunch, go to Wal-Mart, buy an inexpensive rod and reel, some bobbers and small hooks, and come on out and enjoy the fun. My hat is off to any city that inspires young people to get out there and enjoy nature and the sport of fishing.

If you love to fish, have your own boat, and you want to inspire more young people to get on the water and learn the art of bass fishing, go see your local high school principal and discuss the possibility of starting a high school fishing team as one of the school’s extracurricular activities.

Before you go, make sure you are prepared to make the time commitment it will require, because once you get it started the kids will want to go every weekend if you will take them. Actions like this will ensure that the sport of bass fishing will be around long after you and I are gone.

So when you take yours or theirs to the water and they catch a big ’un be sure to send me the pics to Hook_up66@yahoo.com and I will include them in my next article.

Have a great time on the water.

Jasper Johnson is retired from the U.S. Army and is the Copperas Cove Bass Club secretary. To contact him about the club or for any questions, call 318-218-0358 or email Hook_up@yahoo.com.

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