Regular readers of my columns over the years know I’m a mad keen advocate of teaching kids the art of fishing, so when my 8-year-old daughter Hailey came to me and said she would like to write a fishing book for kids I was thrilled.
Firstly I was proud to realize just how much Hailey enjoys helping others catch fish, and secondly I thought ‘what an absolutely great idea!’
A little digging revealed that not only is there very few instructional fishing books for kids, we couldn’t find a single one written in ”kids speak”. This was a massive oversight by everyone in fishing including me ... kids often engage and learn better from other kids rather than from adults.
So we ran with Hailey’s idea and the rest is proving to be history. But the book is not just proving to be popular with kids...parents are loving it too.
Part of the success of the book is due to the essential topics covered, such knots, bait collecting, casting games, packing gear etc. But it’s more the way these topics are presented that’s a winner. For example page spreads on each important topic helps kids learn at their own pace.
Hailey also wanted the book to be visual and in a language that anyone can understand...or in her words – “it’s for kids dad it needs to be fun and easy with lots of pictures”.
Parents can be time poor and kids can be time time rich, and Hailey’s book has harnessed this. For example, kids can do many of the activities on their own before they even head off fishing.
The book is also getting kids off iPads and into healthy real life hands on stuff.
The book also presents the popular species we can all hook into – such as bream, flathead and whiting in the salt water. Then of course there’s trout, redfin, and golden perch in the freshwater.
Hailey once again lead the way here, she knows there are easy ways to catch these fish without needing lots of experience and expensive tackle.
Also, while researching for content we took newcomer families out fishing to identify the most common pitfalls, these are not hard to remedy.
And if I’ve noticed one trend it’s that some dads are grabbing the book for themselves – how funny is that - your cover has been blown by an 8-year-old dads!
But what impressed me most was Haileys drive to push for sustainable fishing and best practice catch and release fishing.
Comments from Hailey like “take your rule book because some fish need to go back”, and “just because you catch your bag limit it doesn’t mean you need to keep them all” are reinforced in throughout the book and in the sustainable fishing section.
There are also sections on sun safety, water safety, and what kids gear need to pack for a days fishing.
We are very proud of Hailey and all the families and people who have made this book possible. As Hailey said; “Fishing is the best fun and I would love to help you get into it, and care for our fish and the environment along the way.”
Footnote:Rob Paxevanos has written for regional newspapers and hosted Fishing Australia for 16 years. Hailey caught her first fish on television at the age of 18 months from her pram, and has helped dad catch and photo fish in the media since then. She’s shown great flair for the sport- regularly out-casting and out fishing her older siblings and others around her.