Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Outdoors

Fishing guide baits kids through books

When I was a boy, given the choice, I would have rather gone fishing than to the library.

Reading was something I had to do at school. Summer was time for fun. You wouldn't catch me with a book in my hand June through August.

But looking back, I might have had a different attitude had somebody given me a book on a topic that I cared something about, such as fishing.

I guess I was just born too early, because now, fishing kids can enjoy a new series of mysteries featuring their favorite pastime.

The Fishing Kids Series, written by Stuart-based charter boat captain Mike Holliday, is geared for youngsters ages 6 to 10. Holliday, an outdoors writer who has also written several Florida fishing books geared toward adults, knows his audience. The 51-year-old father of three takes his offspring out in search of snook and tarpon every chance he gets.

"Kids just want to have fun," Holliday said. "I try to fish for species that provide a lot of action, like ladyfish and jacks.

"And we usually fish for a while, then take a break and go swimming or snorkeling," he added. "They will have plenty of time to take fishing more seriously when they get older."

The heroes of the series are two 10-year-old boys from Minnesota named Steve Pinner, a.k.a. "Spinner" and Bobby Ernest, who goes by the nickname "Bobber." They first appear in The Monster of White Bear Lake, and then resurface in his second book, The Mystery of Porpoise Point, which takes place in Islamorada in the Florida Keys.

The heroine, 11-year-old Coral Skye loves to fish and snorkel and once landed a 45-pound mahi-mahi. "She's a spunky, independent, outdoorsy girl who knows all the best fishing spots from trips with her dad," Holliday writes. "She's tough, smart, compassionate, creative and has a never-give-up attitude."

Each book, available through FishingKids.com, has fewer than 100 pages, which makes them ideal to take along on a summer road trip, and costs $5.99. A third adventure, The Pirate of Creole Bay, takes place in Louisiana, where the boys meet a new friend called Shrimp.

The books are fun, informative and offer great life lessons, such as how to be a good steward for the environment and to appreciate all the great things that are free on this great planet Earth.

Holliday has lots of advice for parents who want to get their children started on a lifetime of fishing fun.

"Take the time to point out the things in the environment that we often take for granted," he said. "When you are on the water all the time it's easy to forget how special it is to see turtles, dolphin, starfish, conchs, horseshoe crabs and even jellyfish. But to kids, these creatures are new and magical."

Holliday believes that all parents should spend time on or around the water with their kids. It could be as simple as just taking them for a walk along a pier.

"You might even wind up learning something yourself," he said. "I was camping on a spoil island in the Indian River with my son and his friend, and they were shining a flashlight on the water and pointing to all the orange eyes.

"I had no idea there were so many shrimp in that area of the river, and how small they were. Based on what I saw, I tie all my shrimp flies to match the size and color of the shrimp we saw that night."

Every time you're on or around the water with children, look for teaching moments, he said.

"I try to instill in them an appreciation for the fish and the environment," he said. "I teach my children to handle fish with respect, to place them gently in the water, not throw them back and to make sure they're revived before they release them."

In the end, Holliday said, today's 10-year-olds will be the ones who ultimately have to preserve and protect our fisheries.

"That is why it is so important to teach them the importance of habitat," he said. "Without mangroves, salt marshes and seagrass beds, we won't have any fish."

   
Comments

Captainís Corner: Itís a good time to focus on snook

Snook have been a main focus on my most recent trips. This time of year, snook inhabit the beaches, gathering in the ditches and swashes along shore. Jetties or rock structures are also a favorite habitat for snook to lurk, looking to ambush bait fis...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Tips on targeting American Red Snapper

American Red Snapper (ARS) season opened a few days ago and some types of bottom are holding bigger schools of ARS then other bottom types. The hard bottom areas that most fishermen prefer are holding large schools of ARS, but the fish have yet to m...
Published: 06/18/18

Captainís Corner: Trout bite at its best

The trout bite has been the best Iíve seen all year. Fish up to 26 inches have been common recently. Fish are sitting on the flatsí deeper edges, where the water is deeper and cooler, and moves a little more swiftly. Live sardines and hard plastic ba...
Published: 06/16/18
Updated: 06/17/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing this month is all about diversity

This is the month of diverse opportunity. The choice of species is unlimited, as long as you have the bait. You can target snook and tarpon in the morning, then fish for Spanish mackerel, bluefish, snapper, sharks and cobia in the afternoon. The tarp...
Published: 06/15/18

Captainís Corner: When itís tarpon time, itís also shark time

Tarpon get most of the attention when talking about exciting fly action for large fish in our area. Baitfish are more prolific, and large tarpon follow their forage and populate most of our local waters. Following them are fish that consider tarpon t...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Captainís Corner: This is your best time for tarpon fishing

Now is the best time to target tarpon. Silver kings are cruising the beaches on their yearly migration up and down the stateís west coast. This weekís strong new moon tides and the strong full moon tides in two weeks provide some of the best action f...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Captainís Corner: Turn attention to gag grouper and red snapper

Attention has turned to gag grouper and red snapper for many offshore fishermen. Red snapper can be best targeted in waters 105 feet and deeper, with some available in water as shallow as 60 feet. Although the snapper will be found on high profile st...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18

Captainís Corner: Pompano popping up at passes, along beach

Over the past few weeks, pompano have started to appear around the passes and along the beach. These tasty members of the jack family are one of the most difficult fish to find and keep track of. Just when you think youíve figured out a reliable time...
Published: 06/10/18
Updated: 06/11/18

Captainís Corner: Many fish now in their deep summer areas

Many fish have moved into their deep summer areas. This has been the pattern the past week. Snook are in their spawning areas waiting for the tide and moon to align. Iíve been leaving them alone and opting for the more steady action trout have been p...
Published: 06/08/18
Updated: 06/10/18

Captainís Corner: Pompano in the spotlight

Pompano are arriving at the locations where they will be found for the next six months. The most underutilized species in Tampa Bay, pompano are not only among the best to have for dinner, they fight great. Targeting pompano is pretty easy. You have ...
Published: 06/05/18
Updated: 06/07/18