Letter to the Editor: Fishing is a wonderful pastime

To the Editor:
We have a 13 year old son who is a full blown fishing fanatic. Tonight after work, I took him fishing down near Dorchester. Having grown up near Harpers Ferry, I have never fished much down that way and found myself struggling to find someplace suitable for us to try. Long story short, we ended up fishing under a bridge and had just started to catch a few when a man I had never met stopped and in no uncertain terms explained that we were on his property and were breaking the law. On a million bibles I would swear that it was an honest mistake, but he at least initially seemed uninterested in my explanation, going so far as to question what sort of a parent I am by teaching my kids to trespass. I was apparently indeed on his property and with that I guess he has the right to treat me as he chooses and say what he sees fit, but that’s a topic for another day. With that said, let me say this:
I grew up a stone’s throw away from the Mississippi River. As a kid, I was always a five minute bike ride away from being able to drop a hook in the water. Most kids aren’t so fortunate. Even in these parts with rivers, ponds and creeks aplenty, it isn’t as easy as one would think for a kid to find somewhere that he/she can fish safely, effectively or without the possibility of finding themselves in the situation I was in tonight.
Fishing is a wonderful, wonderful pastime. It gets kids off of the couch, away from the video games and out into the amazing world we call nature. It teaches patience, provides the lungs plenty of fresh air and sometimes, when you’re lucky, you can catch enough for a great tasting meal. If you’re age is one or one hundred, it’s a joy that never gets old.  When they’re biting good, it’s among the purest forms a joy I’ve ever known.
I would encourage every single adult out there to do what you can to help the kids in your lives enjoy a day or two of fishing this summer. If you are someone that is fortunate enough to own a pond or land that runs along a body of water where a kid could catch a fish, I’d encourage you to look at the world differently than the guy we met tonight.  We only go through this thing called life once, and if I could spend mine watching the joy on a kids face as he catches his first fish vs telling him he wasn’t welcomed there, well, I’d go for the smiling face.  Friends, I hope you will too.
Thank you.

Dwight Jones
Waukon

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