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Get a kid out on the ice to enjoy fishing

We anticipate the local "Poles and Holes" event held Saturday was a success. I know the "Cormorant Sportsman's Club Youth Fishing Derby" held on Lake Ida Saturday was a success again this year. Last year, over three hundred kids enjoyed prizes and fun. This is a free event for kids with many contributors that are committed to getting kids hooked on fishing. Quality Bait donated 28 rod and reel combos for the kids as well as providing hundreds of dollars worth of free bait. The Sportsman's Club and the Cormorant Pub do a great job of making this all about the kids, setting up volunteers, and securing donations and prizes.

My mistake was forgetting to promote them last week as well as the event on Little Detroit Lake. Sorry. It is great for our area that we have so many options. I am glad multiple events are available for us and visitors to our area.

We have another youth focused event coming up on Saturday Feb. 19. The Lakes Chapter of Minnesota Darkhouse and Angling Association are sponsoring this annual event. The "Kids Pan Fish Derby" will be held on Little Detroit Lake from 2-3 p.m. in front of the Rossman Access and Zorbaz. This is for 12 year olds and under, and they must be accompanied by an adult to participate. You have to be on the ice by 2:15 to be eligible for the grand prize.

These events are fun and memorable for kids. I know that my own sons, Jake and Josh (30 years old and 28 years old respectively now) have many fond memories of our bonding experiences through fishing. They have become accomplished anglers and have a love for the sport now as well. We still look forward to our fishing opportunities together and continue to make memories.

I never had a chance to share that experience with a father. A friend's father and neighbor introduced me to fishing, and I am forever grateful. It has become a passion for me. I know it makes a difference to me to be able to "pay it forward." I love being a part of others developing a love and appreciation for the experience of fishing.

It is important to remember that it is about the experience of fishing, not just catching. Catching just makes the experience even better. For kids, catching anything will help get them "hooked." They will grow to appreciate how much more to fishing there is than just catching fish. So take time out this year to take a kid fishing. If you don't get them on the ice this winter, make a point to make it happen this summer. You never know how much of a difference you may make in someone's life by sharing something as simple as a fishing trip.

(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)