A wise man named Mark Mayfield once was asked by his son, "Dad, why do people get gray hair?"
Without hesitation, he brilliantly replied, "Gray hair is God's way of telling kids to be nicer to their parents."
My relation came when my son, at nine years of age, asked, "Dad, when I grow up is my face going to crack like yours?"
Maybe not as brilliant an answer as Mark's, I simply replied, "No, son, with questions like that you may not have to wait."
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KIDS AND FISHING
I believe that bringing joy to a child is paramount to anything else you may accomplish. Their world is not centered around wages, careers or politics. They simply want your time.
A hundred years from now it will not matter what car you drove, how big a house you owned or what political affiliation you claimed. The time the world was a much better place was when you were important in the life of a child.
You do not need elaborate fishing equipment with kids. Stick to the basics and have a bit of fun. Don't try to dazzle them with brilliance; kick back and enjoy the moment, and leave the bragging rights to them.
And don't spoil it.
When my son was eight, there were a number of well-stocked ponds at Clarendon. We had fished about an hour when he got fidgety. I loaded up with beetle spins and light spinning gear and we moved to a pond known to harbor large panfish. For the next hour, my time was spent removing fish from his hook and watching his excitement.
Keep the right frame of mind and know their limits as well as your own. Look for signs they are losing interest and be prepared to make changes. Tie on a topwater propeller plug and let them run it across the surface of the water. They get a kick out of watching the lure, learn better casting techniques and get a real rush when a fish does strike. Whether they catch anything or not (hopefully they will), they will become better fishermen because you took the time to teach and share the day.
A day of fishing may prove beneficial in your efforts to become acquainted, reacquainted or just spend time with your kids.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will host a series of youth fishing clinics, or "Fishing Rodeos," around the state during May and June. The clinics will teach skills on how to tie fish knots, rig a rod and reel, and casting -- each a unique opportunity for families to enjoy time together.
To register visit www.dnr.sc.gov/aquaticed/rodeos.
Camp Wildwood, a high-energy, hands-on environmental camp for 10th through 12th grade students, will be in session June 17-23 at Kings Mountain State Park.
At the camp, students will acquire knowledge and appreciation in the use of natural resources. By providing a supervised, positive environment that has safety as a primary commitment, the camp encourages self-reliance and discipline. Staff members will conduct classes in fisheries, forestry, firearm safety, first aid and wildlife.
The camp is sponsored by the Garden Club of South Carolina, Inc., the South Carolina Wildlife Federation, the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, South Carolina State Parks and the S.C. DNR.
For more information, call Dan DuPre at 803-609-1072 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bob Martore of the S.C. DNR has received conflicting reports of missing reef buoys in our area. If you notice a buoy missing from your favorite fishing drop, call 843-953-9303 or e-mail email@example.com and report it.