Sea Oats

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The International Game Fishing Association

The first time I caught a fish, I was three years old. Well, I didn’t really catch that fish. My Dad did. I had a stick, a piece of string and a safety pin. My dad caught a sheepshead, hauled it in and put it on my line. Since it was still alive it kicked and jerked. That’s when I got hooked on fishing. This all took place on Kelley’s Island on Lake Erie. I spent every summer from then on until I was 18 there.
To this day, I believe that taking a kid fishing is one of the best things that can happen to the kid. A day out on the water adds such enrichment to child’s life and the payoffs can exceed your wildest dreams. You need to have extra patience with a child. They are trying to learn. They are dealing with icky bait and slimy fish. Give them a chance to be overwhelmed. You probably were when you were a child, or maybe you just had an understanding parent.
People visit Fort Lauderdale for many different reasons. If you come with your family, you are missing out on one of the least expensive and fun things you can do with your kids. You have big pool called the Atlantic Ocean right outside your door. You can fish from piers, docks, seawalls, bridges, head boats and even rental boats. Remember the Wind in The Willows?
 "There is nothing- absolutely nothing-
half so much
worth doing
as simply
messing about in boats."

That's what Ratty said to Mole in Kenneth Grahame's beloved classic, The Wind in the Willows. "In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it.". . . Ratty continued.
Not big fisherman yourself? Too busy being a Mom or Dad to really get into all the details of fish and fishing? Then while you are inFort Lauderdale, you need to visit the IGFA, the International Game Fishing Association, in Dania Beach, Florida. They have everything you need to get up to speed on fish and fishing for less than $30 for a family of four. That is less than going to the movies and so much more rewarding. Less than a mile in a straight line from the airport, it is very convenient.
The IGFA buildings are right next door to Outdoor World so if after your tour you get the urge to go out into the real world, you can pick up all the gear you need without even moving your car. The IGFA has a theater that shows short films in the Orientation Theater.
There are rooms that show the history of fishing and the various tackle and how it developed over the years. Displays containing living and replica fish are around the hall. If your pursuits tend towards the more scholarly, there is a complete reference library on the second floor. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. I did research on marlin years ago and the article I wrote would have been much less without the staff’s help.
An interactive room will allow everyone to fish for sailfish, bass, tarpon and others. The sounds and sights are very realistic and there is a staff member standing by should you need help in landing your catch. All the fun of sportfishing without the throwing up. There  is even an app for identifying your catch and checking records. Couldn't be much easier.
Don’t forget to look up. Mounted on the ceiling are nearly a hundred different fish in full glory. They are of course, fiberglass replicas, as one of the tenets of modern fishing is preservation. In the World Record Room, you will see photos and displays showing the records for various species from all over and some stories about what it took to catch them. Who knows, maybe your child’s name will be here one day.
The Fish Gallery has displays showing the various parts that make up a fish, how they live and their habitats. There is plenty see here for people of all ages. You owe to yourself to drop by and learn about what lies just off the beach where you are working on your tan.
You may just change the life of a child.

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