Speaker: Family trips start with a plan
It cuts into the time he could spend fishing, but Bob Sampson doesn’t mind. He loves to be out on the water, but likes talking about fishing nearly as much. Bob gives the kids who come to hear him special attention, and so far, lots of kids, parents and grandparents have turned out for the series of family fishing talks he is giving at Connecticut libraries and nature centers this spring.
The renowned outdoors columnist for the Norwich Bulletin, radio host for WICH, and a featured angler for the cable show “On the Water” on NESN, few people know local waters better than Bob. His guide to family fishing in Connecticut, Best Fishing Trips in Connecticut, from ponds to pounding surf, was written to make it easy for parents and grandparents to learn to enjoy fishing with their kids.
The secret to successful family fishing trips, Bob says, is to go with a plan. In his days as a fisheries biologist working for the state, Bob learned that those who are out “to catch anything” usually catch nothing. Anglers who go after a specific fish, and even with a backup species in mind, have little problem “putting a bend in the rod.”
With that in mind, Bob describes what he's found to be the best family fishing trips, month by month, to both fresh water and salt. He shares ideas about catching trout (and state run trout parks are ideal places for families and beginners to try their luck), large and small mouth bass, and striped bass in the spring, fluke in Long Island Sound in the summer, and pike and walleye in the fall.
Bob also brings a variety of rods and reels to help parents understand what they need to equip their family for a trip. He describes everything from basic rods and reels, to lines and lures, as well as what he has found to be good, all-around rigs for kids and beginners.
The real crowd-pleaser is when Bob pulls out a fiberglass mount he had made as a souvenir of a giant pike he caught in Mansfield Hollow. He kept the fish itself only long enough to have a photo snapped, and then released it back into the lake to catch another day. “I want to catch him again when he’s twice that size!” he explains.
One day, he probably will. The day after he spoke with a large group of experienced anglers, beginner parents, and interested grandparents at the Cragin Memorial Library in Colchester, Bob was back in Norwich Harbor on a quick trip to go after a striped bass or two. It wasn’t long before he had one worthy of a photo, or before he returned that fish to the water, where it could be caught again another day.