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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 9:20 pm | Fair 55º


Captain’s Log: Tailoring Outdoors Adventures for Kids

With springtime comes adventure, and that often means bringing kids along. That is great because kids are where we invest of ourselves to create a better future that preserves our heritage. Our heritage loves adventure — fishing, hunting, shooting, hiking, surfing, diving, swimming, beachcombing, bird watching and numerous other strenuous outdoors activities. Kids need adventure just as badly as we do — maybe more so.

Be careful to tailor adventure plans to give the kids good experiences that will make them want to continue to learn and enjoy, and to develop strength, skills and a deeper understanding of nature that surrounds them. That means scaling your adventures to a level that kids can deal with and enjoy themselves.

Right now, it is salmon season, which makes for a perfect example. Taking kids along on a local salmon fishing trip can create a problem because the process involves hours and hours of slow-trolling, hauling up heavy rigs to pull off weeds or change out lures and then putting them back down to the depths where they can attract a strike from a hungry salmon.

This just isn’t the kind of activity that kids are going to get into because it over-challenges their attention span, which is probably shorter than your boat.

On our charter boat, WaveWalker, we specialize in trips for kids as well as adults. When young kids are along, we often fish locally and target shallow-water rockfish and bass because they bite readily and therefore provide the kind of fast-paced action kids enjoy.

After an adventure or two like that, during which they hear stories about big fish that do require patience, they are likely to be ready for something more, such as chasing white seabass, halibut or salmon.

When taking youngsters on hikes, I recommend our local creek beds, which may be no more than a mile from home. The seasonal waterways that run through town feature miniature natural wonderlands. The kids in my family, including the grandkids, grow up with fabulous memories of nature hikes that happen within a half-mile from home and require only a couple of hours or so. With backgrounds like that, they grow to look forward to further challenges.

Whatever your adventure, introduce it to kids in small doses to match their attention span. You may be creating a buddy who helps you continue to enjoy adventures when you grow old enough to have difficulties without some help.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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