By Stephanie Vatalaro
As a mom, I love heading out on the water with my family after a long week. A family fishing adventure is the perfect way to relax while spending time together outdoors. And this season, more families than ever are searching for nature-based remedies for boredom. In fact, one in four American parents have become more interested in fishing during COVID-19.
This traditional pastime is making a comeback. Here are three reasons why fishing is a perfect family activity right now.
We could all use a little stress relief right now, right? For many families, fishing and boating are lifelines to health and wellness. There are many hidden mental health benefits of getting out on the water that you might not expect. For example, people who spend time in nature have lower levels of cortisol, a hormone that indicates stress.
Since fishing requires focus, it can take your mind off stress. As a result, it helps to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Given the uncertainty in today’s world, there’s just something uniquely appealing about the calming effect of the water. And when you go with your family, it provides meaningful engagement with your loved ones, which can also boost your mood.
To help everyone discover the mental health and wellness benefits of fishing and boating while social distancing, we’ve teamed up with Discover Boating to launch a public service initiative called Get On Board. Anyone can get involved by visiting www.TakeMeFishing.org/GetOnBoard or using #TheWaterIsOpen and #RecreateResponsibly on social media.
It’s easy to recreate responsibly while fishing! You want to stay six feet apart from other anglers anyway so that your lines don’t get tangled. Fishing is a smart way to follow social distancing guidelines while prioritizing the health and wellness of your family.
We encourage all anglers and boaters to follow local and CDC guidelines while out on the water. If you’re wondering what the regulations are in your area, check out www.TakeMeFishing.org for a state-by-state map with updates to current fishing and boating access related to COVID-19.
Even if you’re a newbie, fishing is a simple activity that you can bond over as a family with just a few beginner steps. For young anglers, choose a kid-friendly starter rod-and-reel combo designed for smaller hands. Visit Take Me Fishing’s YouTube channel for other tips on fishing with kids.
Going fishing doesn’t mean you have to pack up for a long drive far away from home. When selecting a family-friendly fishing spot, look for amenities like play areas, easy parking and picnic facilities as well as safe water and boat access. You can find lots of places to fish nearby at www.TakeMeFishing.org.
Before you hit the water, remember that the most important item to carry is your fishing license. That’s because the conservation programs that take care of our waterways depend on revenue generated by fishing license sales. You can get your license anytime at www.TakeMeFishing.org and learn a variety of beginner tips.
Fishing can promote healthy living, strengthen family connections and even foster a sense of accomplishment in your kids by teaching them a new skill. Give it a shot, and you might just find your family gets hooked!
A lifelong angler, Stephanie Vatalaro works to introduce newcomers to the water as senior vice president of marketing & communications for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and its Take Me Fishing initiative. Outside of work, you’re likely to find her fishing and boating with her family.