March 7, 2015

Men, Boys, and Getting the Meat - Ice Fishing!

There is just something primitive and very natural about men and young guys heading out into the wild elements to bring home the meat, or in this example of the hunt, going fishing in very cold weather and in the middle of a frozen lake.

The Club for Boys is located in Rapid City, South Dakota, near the beautiful Black Hills. It's an organization in which men have been supporting young guys for a very long time. In a powerful statement of their purpose, they say they have been ". . . a consistent and positive influence on the lives of over 33,000 different boys through the years." One of the ways they do that is through fishing.

A while back I wrote a blog post about my first encounter with a tackle box. It was my introduction to all the colorful and seemingly magical gear. It was filled with different kinds of lures, each with a special purpose and creature in mind. The box also had an other-worldly aroma that only added to my excitement. With the help of a good man, I did eventually learn to fish (and learned the smell in the tackle box was from years of accumulated fish guts, dried worms, and a little beer). So when I came across the story of men and boys going fishing, it took me right back to those days!

The Club for Boys held their second annual ice fishing event and called it Hooked on Hardwater. Get it? The water is hard! Sorry. For those of you not familiar with life in the frozen northlands, it may look a little strange to see a community of people gathered on a cold, grey day, all covered in down coats and pants, and sitting in tents in the middle of a frozen lake. These are people who are used to seeing their breath when they talk, and who take pleasure at staring at a hole in the ice. In the colder northern parts of the U.S., it's actually a common thing to do and really a lot of fun.

For this outing, over sixty professional fishermen came from nine states and Canada. It's a heart-warmer to learn that some of those fishing pros drove over thirteen hours to get to the event. They were partnered with sixty or so boys from the club. The young guys learned about fish, fish finders, bait, and the fine art of fishing itself. The event was strategically placed on the lake that was known to be home to a large population of perch. That location guaranteed that each of the boys would catch somewhere between five and ten fish. A catch that size is a thrilling day for a kid just learning to fish and a small but true rite of passage.

. . . a thrilling day for a kid just learning to fish
and a small but true rite of passage.

The smiles on the faces of the men and boys is the real story, and partially explains why a fishing pro might drive cross country to be involved. You can get the whole story and see the video at this link.

What kind of fish am I?
As a side note for you fishing lovers, I really liked their Junior and Master Angler Program. It perfectly fits the idea of a ladder of achievement that young men like so much. In these programs, when boys catch a rainbow trout, a perch, a blue gill and a bass, they receive a Junior Angler card and a free tackle box. When they go on to catch a brown trout, a crappie, and bull head, AND they can demonstrate tying a basic angler knot, they are given a Master Angler card plus a free rod and reel. They also get some serious status in the club. Boys with a completed Master Angler card are also eligible to go on the big Summer Fishing Trip which includes travelling with the men for five full days of fishing (and a whole lot of fun). To learn more about these kinds of events, visit The Club for Boys website for more information.

Do you know a young guy you could teach how to fish? Or if you never learned to fish and are interested, can you find a fisherman friend and see what the two of you might create? Here's a fishing story about a man and his friends doing just that. It's called Fishin With A Mission.

Or maybe you have a different hobby or passion you and some of your men friends might share with some young guys. I'm certain if you act, the lives of the boys and men who get involved will be changed for the better.

And yes, it's just that simple!

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