Learning from Children

A few weeks ago, my nine year-old son talked with sturgeon fishermen at the docks of St. Helens. They were more than happy to share their experiences and techniques with him, as most fishermen gained their love of the sport as kids and want to pass on the knowledge and passion.

A few days later, I helped him with a Google search for sturgeon sites, and there was even a photo online of one of the men he had spoke with (landing a 14 foot sturgeon). On his own, my son learned how to rig for sturgeon, which bait, which locations, anatomical information, how to catch and release, etc.

The next weekend, we were moored at the Government Island docks for two nights, and my son had made us stop at GI Joes on the way to the boat so he could provision. He bought some weights and hooks, and a jar of “Sturgeon Candy”– pickled squid. That first night at the dock, he rigged and baited his pole all by himself, set up like the men he had met the weekend before, and landed a 32 inch sturgeon in less than an hour. It was the biggest fish he had ever landed, and it felt like a shark as I held it as he removed the large, barbless hook and set the fish free again.

I fished as a boy, but at the moment I’m purposely keeping out of it. It’s my son’s passion, and I’m happy to help, but I don’t want to be an expert. It’s his topic and authority now, and an important part of his childhood. As a boy, I also had the “research bug” at his age, but I am wholly impressed by how he can research and execute at such a young age (with both face-to-face and online resources).

So, what have I learned? I think we can all create ourselves as we choose. The only limit is our effort and dedication.

Son and Sturgeon

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