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Time to put fishing back on the radar

“One of these days …”

It’s a threat, a promise or a dream. It all depends on the circumstances.

Anglers often aspire to fulfill an ambition “one of these days.” Perhaps it’s to visit a faraway lake or to catch a bucket-list species. For many, however, the “one of these days” aspiration is to take up fishing or perhaps to return to the sport they loved as a kid.

Ohioans who are contemplating fishing as a new hobby or to dust off their long-idle fishing tackle have their once-a-year opportunity to cast their lines without having to invest in a fishing license.

Ohio’s annual Free Fishing Weekend is June 18 and 19, according to news released last week by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Like many pursuits in life, fishing is an activity that can very easily be shelved as work, raising children, coaching youth sports and other important duties take precedence. Many of us learned the fun of fishing when we were young and then set aside our rods and tackle when the obligations of adulthood left no time for fishing.

“One of these days,” we say when we walk past the idle fishing gear.

Perhaps next weekend will be the time when one of these days really comes to pass.

It is shaping up that June 18 and 19 might be a pretty good time to put fishing back on your radar. The weather should be excellent and the fishing typically is pretty good in mid-June in Northeast Ohio, with lots of opportunities for anglers–even novices–to hook up with bluegills, crappies, catfish and perhaps a spunky largemouth bass or even a Lake Erie walleye.

Ohio’s Free Fishing Weekend covers all of the state’s public waters, including Lake Erie and the Ohio River. Locally, anglers can fish for free at Mosquito, Berlin, Milton, West Branch, Deer Creek, Walborn and other public waters.

“The Division of Wildlife hosts one free fishing weekend each year that aims to expand access to and participation in this cherished outdoor activity,” the ODNR said in a news release. “The free fishing weekend is an excellent chance to get outside and experience the thrill of fishing at no cost.”

Truth is, those of us who love fishing owe it to our sport to introduce others to the fun. ODNR noted young people in particular should be given the opportunity to get out on the water.

“The free fishing weekend offers a unique chance for beginners and children to catch a fish,” the ODNR said as it listed tips to make initial trips fun and interesting.

Adults coaching youngsters are advised to keep the trip simple by considering the person’s age and skill level. They should choose a pond, lake or stream where beginners will be in the proximity of fish willing to bite.

Live bait is recommended for beginners as it is more likely to attract the interest of fish. Adult coaches should be patient and plan to spend time untangling lines.

“Most of all,” said the ODNR, “keep the trip fun.”

That is, after all, the biggest reason all who fish go to the lake in the first place.

Jack Wollitz’s book, “The Common Angler,” explores the fun stuff that makes fishing a passion for so many people. He appreciates emails from readers. Send a note to jackbbaass@gmail.com.

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