Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   



Texas Trailblazers

Teach a Family to Fish

Ireshwater Fishing Hall of Fame member Shane Wilson founded Fishing’s Future in 2007 with one goal in mind: using fishing to keep families together.

“There are a lot of fishing programs, but not a lot of family fishing programs,” the South Padre Island resident says. “We teach parents how to fish so they can teach their children.”

Hundreds of thousands of Texans have wet their lines at the organization’s events; more than a million people have fished at regional chapter events in 20 other U.S. states and the United Kingdom.

The retired educator thinks fishing is a perfect way for parents to actively engage with their children.

“You’re sitting on the bank, waiting for your bobber to go down. While you’re waiting, you look up at the clouds, you look around, you talk about what you see,” Shane says. “Our society misses that. Many parents don’t get to just spend time with their kids.”

All families, Shane believes — no matter their race, creed, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or limitation — should be given the chance to learn how to fish.

To help accomplish that, Fishing’s Future recently modified a 25-foot boat named the I CAN, adding lifts, higher railings, wheelchair and medical bed tiedowns, movable shade structures, loading ramps and safety equipment. The boat makes it possible to provide a safe fishing experience for almost anyone. The organization also has a 5,000-gallon portable fish tank it uses to take fishing into cities.

“For people who didn’t grow up fishing, it can be intimidating,” he says. “You go into the big box store and don’t know what to buy. So, we teach parents about the equipment, what they need in their tackle box.”

They spend two hours learning skills before trying it out.

“The parent helps their child bait the hook, toss it out and catch a fish,” Shane says. “The kid’s screaming with excitement, and that parent is beaming.”

Once they learn the basics, families can continue to fish on their own for life.

“This is my passion — families are the most important thing we can invest in,” Shane says. “Every child, every family ought to have the opportunity to spend time outdoors. Fishing just happens to be my passion and where my knowledge lies. Just go out and spend time with your kids. When that happens, our society is a better place.”

Learn more at FishingsFuture.org.

 Danno Wise

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