Fishing is just as much a girl's activity as it is a boy's. The fish don't care who's holding the pole, and learning lessons about nature and the environment, while spending quality time with dad, is equally important for boys and girls.
Thirteen-year-old Ambriel Jacobs and her sister Ariana Jacobs, of Pickwick, have gone fishing with their dad as long as they can remember.
"The first time I remember was when I was six," Ariana said. "We went sunny fishing on Lake Winona. We fished off the dock and it was lots of fun. The first fish I remember catching was a sunfish. I thought that was awesome."
Ambriel's first fish, she says, was a bass. "We love to fish with our dad — sometimes on the Mississippi River," she said. "We usually catch walleyes, but like to trout-fish in the streams by our house. We do go fishing at our grandpa's on Howard Lake and catch sunnies, perch and crappies."
Twelve-year-old Gracie Placzek, of Red Wing, is another young fisherwoman.
"I was first interested in fishing a few years ago when I and my dad went fishing on a canoe trip on the Cannon River," she said. "We rented a canoe at the Welch Mill and I caught my first fish — a mooneye! I remember thinking it was pretty, and a lot harder to reel in than I thought it was going to be. We brought the fish home, cleaned it, filleted it and fried it up for lunch."
subhead: Old gear adds nostalgia
Out of high school, Amanda Carrigan, of Chatfield, still loves fishing with dad.
"I always loved to fish, whether it was putting a bunch of nightcrawlers on a hook and catching fish under the bridge by our house, or fishing for sunfish on a lake in Northern Minnesota," she said. "I would go out fishing with my parents before I could even walk. My dad would pack my tackle box with rubber lures, no hooks obviously, and I would play with them for hours. I never complained about how long we were fishing. I now live in Winona, so I am in the perfect place to fish. There isn't a week that goes by where I don't call my dad and talk about a fishing expedition. Even ice fishing!"
These kinds of memories stick with you even more when you use hand-me-down fishing gear, though some girls get new gear to start.
"Some fishing equipment was handed down from my grandpa Greg," Placzek said, "but we did buy new fishing poles."
Jim Kieffer, co-owner of Sarah's Uniques and Jim's "man"tiques, in St. Charles, said a 13-year-old girl stopped in last week while visiting her grandmother.
"The young girl purchased some lures and a reel to use when she goes fishing with her dad," Kieffer said. "She also bought a nice, old lure for her father for Father's Day because she loves to spend time with her dad and he has taken her fishing since she could walk. She used her own money to purchase these items and was thrilled and proud to be able to start her own collection of fishing items to share with her dad."
subhead:Simple and sturdy
For beginning anglers, you may not want to spend much, but you still want something simple and sturdy. Used poles and reels may fit the bill. Where new equipment can be around $25, used may cost between $5 and $10.
Carrigan loves to shop at flea markets.
"I love picking up old tackle boxes or boxes that contain old tackle," she said. "Since I don't collect tackle, I actually use what I find, such as bobbers, sinkers, and hooks, since they do last a long time and really have not changed, so utilizing vintage tackle is not uncommon and I can pick them up very reasonably priced."
Kieffer sells lures for about $25 apiece.
"Some are antique," he said, "some are just good lures to fish with. Some old and newer reels are priced up to $30 — that includes some collectible names. Of course I also carry poles, minnow buckets, bait boxes, tackle boxes and netting, and even some fish mounts in the shop for sale."
subhead: Fishing tips
These young fisherwomen have some tips to share, including "don't stand up in the boat."
"Keep your stringer of fish in the water, so the fish stay cold and fresh for as long as possible before bringing them home to be cleaned," Placzek said. "Fry fish when they're fresh for the best flavor."
Ariana said, "You don't buy the thin line, because it can break if a big fish bites it. Also, sneak up on the fish and be quiet and maybe wear camouflage if you're trout fishing, because the trout can see colors."
Ambriel adds: "Patience is the key. This is hard for me, as I like to move around a lot, and if I do not get a fish, I move to a new place."
Carrigan said, "My dad never put me in a situation when I was young where I had to be quiet. He always had safety rules, like a life jacket, but he did try to have as few rules as possible so I only had to be concerned with enjoying myself."
"Girls can do everything boys can do," Ambriel said. "We are all the same."
Placzek said, "Fishing is fun, and for anyone who wants to go — not just boys."
For Carrigan, fishing is prime one-on-one time with dad.
"It's a great time to make memories," she said. "We still laugh about a lot of the mishaps or things we've seen."
Kieffer, meanwhile, has the perspective of fishing experiences with his own daughters.
"Girls are just as good at fishing as the boys, and are becoming less squeamish about the whole worm-and-hook thing," he said. "They are more patient and are leaving the girly giggles behind for awhile."