Summertime is the very premier time for anglers to introduce newcomers to this great sport. Panfishing with rudimentary gear and simple methods is the most effective, productive, and with readily available access to appropriate water is the way to initiate a burgeoning fishing career for anyone, of any age.
Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Anyone whose initial outing evokes memories of embarrassment, being verbally admonished, and little if any actual fish catching risks losing a potential Angler forever.
Savvy instructors and mentors will be aware that the attention spans of youngsters in particular are notoriously short. Even older newcomers to the sport will likely need some quick gratification to hold their attention. You don't start out with complicated gear best suited for intricate walleye rigs or swim jig delivery for largemouth.
Start out by remembering or researching nearby shore locales that are safe, easily accessed, and notorious for near-shore numbers of rock bass, bluegill, crappie, perch, or white bass . Smaller ponds can be ideal, even if different specific species may be limited. Strongly consider not fishing yourself at all, with the exception of an occasional hands-on demonstration.
Options for new fishermen might include simple cane poles, pre-packaged spincast ( closed face) combos, and for the older rookies perhaps a light or ultra-light spinning combo. Line for all choices should be in the 4-6 lb. range. Floats (bobbers) might be the simple red and white plastic examples in most instances. If fishing along a stream or other spot featuring a lot of rocky outcroppings, you may wish to have available some cork or balsa floats that are less likely to bust upon impact. Hooks should be in the #6 to #12 sizes so as to be neither too big-resulting in a lot of missed bites, or too-small- resulting in too many swallowed hooks.
Volunteers should be mentally prepared for lots of mistakes and accidents along the process. No one likes to be laughed at or in any way ridiculed. Instruction should be provided in such subjects as varying depth settings, vertical jigging (perhaps off docks or bridges) , and accurate bait placement.
Remember to bring along a camera to record that first fish and other steps on the way to enjoying one of life's most memorable and cherished activities. A great help is a memorable and enjoyable first foray into the sport that involves catching a nice supply of easily accessible panfish , and for an added bonus, a nicely prepared meal of their catches afterwards.
*** Jack Kiser is the long -time Outdoors Columnist for the Record-Courier and contributor to Ohio Valley Outdoors, Midwest Outdoors, and Ohio Angler magazines, as well as host for Buckeye Angler, Fox Sports, WNIR, ONN, and PBS TV and radio. You may reach him at the Buckeye Angler site on Facebook.
Note: Mogadore Bait and Tackle still has few of our Buckeye Angler Series DVDs on the exact subject of this article.