It was 1pm last Saturday. The contest was officially over for one hour. I sent my daughter Anna to pick up the log book and the three rod and reel combos I had purchased for the contest.
I had sponsored a fishing contest for kids in my hometown. The rod/reel combos had been displayed at the local supermarket for one month. This was the length of the contest. The contest was advertized in the local paper. I had checked the status of the kids that had joined every weekend during the contest. I was quite disappointed with the results on each check of the ledger. There were no entries.
Anna brought home the ledger and the prizes. Not a single kid had entered. It made me kinda sad. Over the last few years I have been speaking at schools and was trying to get the word out to the kids in the area about fishing. I added up the number of schools I presented at and estimated the number of kids I spread my message to. The number was over 10,000 kids including the Madison Fishing Expo presentations. I was trying to plant the seed about the great outdoors. I wanted kids to get out there and get out from behind those hand held games and notebooks.
I was to hand out the rod/reel combos at the Sunday of Apple Festival at 3:30pm at the Sportsman's Club Tent. There were no entries in my ledger. I had NO ONE to hand out the sweet Pflueger Spirit Rod/Reel combos out to! They were valued at $100.00 each.
Sunday morning came and I was still scratching my head about the contest. It dawned upon me that hands on fishing is truly the only way to really hook kids on fishing. The most successful way to get kids into fishing is to literally go with them like teacher Dan Pulvermacher of Muscoda does every summer with Riverdale Schools.
The presentation route plants the seed but without a family member or a "super" teacher like Dan Pulvermacher the seed goes unwatered and the seed will not grow.