Fishing offers family bonding

“We fish as a family,” Amanda Menard said in the charming Southern drawl that she brought with her from North Louisiana.

Husband Dennis nodded.

“If you go to any rodeo, 90 percent of the boats are men getting together away from their families,” he said. “My fondest memories are of fishing with my father. I want to pass that along.

“All these kids play video games to see who gets the highest scores. Twenty years from now, they will tell their kids about what they caught — the best shark or whatever. They will never remember their highest video game scores.

“Kids have almost photographic memories. They will ask me about something that we did three years ago. Whether they catch fish or not, they will remember things — the ride out here, the blue water.”

Amanda agreed.

“I’ll give an example,” she said. “Three years ago we weren’t catching many fish, and the water was beautiful. We let them put on swimming googles and go overboard. They saw all kinds of fish. Then Dennis III hollered, ‘shark!’ and started up the ladder; Jimmie climbed up over his back.

“Thinking back to my childhood, I don’t remember watching TV, but I’m sure I did. What I remember is running trotlines with my dad. Families who play together stay together.”

Nodding, Dennis said their passion helps with their family dynamics.

“We are both step-parents. We walk a fine line,” he explained. “Fishing brings togetherness. When we are all on a boat, everyone has to work together.”

“Yeah: You can’t just go to your room,” Amanda said.

As sincere as Amanda and Dennis were on the boat in explaining the role of fishing in their families’ lives, Amanda probably summed it up best in a follow-up email in response to another question I had.

“We just want this article to motivate families to spend time together, whether that is in the kitchen or sitting around the camp fire or fishing together,” she wrote. “There have been times when we went fishing and did not do so great, but we were always together and making memories.

“Passing down our love for the outdoors to our children is a passion of ours, and we hope one day to pass it on to our grandkids, as well.”

About Jerald Horst 959 Articles
Jerald Horst is a retired Louisiana State University professor of fisheries. He is an active writer, book author and outdoorsman.