Even though our obsession with marine and reef aquaria runs very deep, sometimes it’s good to step away from that which we created and enjoy a little outdoor time. Being from Texas, or more specifically the Gulf Coast region, I was essentially born with a fishing pole in my hands. Almost my entire life I’ve been exposed to both fresh and saltwater fishing, as I was often taken on many excursions with my dad and brothers. Even though recreational fishing would seem like something that goes totally against our stance on keeping fish alive and alleviating any stress from our captive fish, it’s still an outdoor activity that has many benefits, some of which are listed below, that might be passed over in favor of playing with our reef aquariums.
Fishing can be a great experience for any child and is a great way for fathers to bond with their kids. Reef aquariums can be a great way to get the kids involved too, but in all honesty the fascination with an aquarium stops with the fish, corals, and invertebrates themselves and doesn’t always translate to quality time with the family. After all, what kid want’s to stay indoors to help dad with a water change? Fishing, on the other hand, is full of excitement and being out on a boat in the middle of a lake or bay provides a great opportunity to bond with the family.
Besides providing a great way to spend time with the family, fishing can also be a great educational tool. The amount of exposure a child gets to all of the marine and freshwater life is quite extensive, and it’s not just limited to the fish. Different kinds of wildlife can be seen all over the place, from snakes to birds and turtles to alligators. Seeing all of this wildlife can also lead to aquarium keeping, especially if the fishing experience is a positive one. Getting to see the unique fish in their natural habitat and enjoying the excitement of catching them can put a desire into young future aquarium keepers that grows into a lifetime of aquarium keeping. It certainly happened for me, and I’m sure many others as well.
In closing, I’ll also point out that we are strong supporters of catch-and-release. Fishing can be very fun, and like any activity in which we interact with the environment, we must do it responsibly. If you do decide to keep a fish, be sure to observe state, local, and federal regulations, as they are designed with the best interest of the fish population in mind.