Fishing is a great outing for people of all ages

By Tamara Boatwright

John Lee loves to fish with his two daughters, Amanda and Leslie, but his wife likes it better.

"She stays home and has the house to herself," he said during a recent outing with his daughters.

Fishing is a great way to spend the day. It's not expensive; a cane pole, some line, a floater and hook will do. You can dig some worms or buy a small container. Add a can of Viennas, soda crackers, a Moon Pie and a cold drink and you're set for the day.

The one thing you can't buy, but need desperately, is patience.

"Fish don't jump on the line," says Fred Donald, who keeps three lines in the water at a time. "I don't really think it takes any talent, you just gotta want to be here and hope the fish are hungry."

Bream are Donald's favorite, followed by crappie. He turns up his nose at catfish.

"I can't eat them because they are so ugly," he said. "But a lot of people love them all fried up."

If you fish on public water and you're over 16 and under 65 you have to buy an annual fishing license – $9 – and keep it with you. A license is not required if you are fishing private ponds or lakes but always have permission before casting that worm. If you are fishing for trout you need a separate license which is $5. And don't take more fish than you can immediately clean and either eat or freeze, say people who fish.

"I seen people just fish and fish and keep everything," says Donald, who has been fishing for most of his 78 years. "You ain't got to have a freezer full and you ain't got to dump the dead ones."

Fishing is a growing hobby, just take a look at the sporting goods section of any department/discount store. In 2003, the most recent numbers on file with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, 450,726 residential fishing licenses were sold.

Fred Hayes recently was in a store looking for a new fishing pole.

"I've been fishing since I was a kid," he said. "Back then we used some line tied onto a cane pole and we took good care of that pole. No where did we have this kind of stuff."

Hayes says he is a Zebco man through and through.

"Give me one of those, one that's not too expensive, and some rubber worms and I can catch a bass or two," says the retired Delta Air Lines employee. "I love to fish."