Do You Remember the First Fish You Caught?

First Fish Certificate Great Idea In West Virginia

Was your first fish this big?

Was your first fish this big?

BY Jim Shepherd

A first fish is a big deal. I don’t really remember the first fish I landed, but I do remember the first fish I “really” caught on my own. “On my own” meaning I rigged the hook, line, sinker and bobber, baited the hook and sealed the deal with a small bream that had already stolen two other crickets before he got so full he slowed up enough for me to catch him.

In those days, catch-and-release was not as popular as batter-and-fry, but I couldn’t bear to fry my first fish. I turned him loose and remember being so proud of myself I could hardly stand it – until my Dad asked me what I was doing putting back a fish.

Fortunately, he wasn’t really angry, we had more than enough bream for dinner that night, but it was my first full fishing experience. Cleaning the catch, fortunately, didn’t come for several years afterwards. Today, catch and release is popular with me because cleaning fish isn’t. Besides, my wife says I’ve caught the same fish so often that I should give them Velcro lips to save wear and tear on all parties.

About 140 words ago, I was going to give an attaboy to the States of West Virginia and Maryland their respective Divisions of Wildlife and Natural Resources. Last week, I got a release that told me that “Wild, Wonderful West Virginia” understood the importance of keeping generation -next involved in the outdoors.

To help, they’ve created a “First Fish” Certificate

The certificate, according to Frank Jezioro, Director of West Virginia DNR, is to “recognize that special catchy by young anglers”.

It’s a very cool little document – and you can fill it out online. In it, Jezioro says, you can include “the angler’s name, species of fish, and date and place of catch” – a very cool commemorative of a momentous occasion.

You can fill the certificate out online, then print it out on your color printer – also a very cool way to operate. No postal waste or time delays . Just fill out the form, hit print, and your little angler will have an award commensurate with that important first fish.

In Maryland, the programs nearly the same, except young anglers need to go to either a Maryland Sport Fishing Tournament Citation Center or use an online form. If you have a digital photo, it can be uploaded to their My 1st Fish Citation.

We support The Angler’s Legacy, and have already done our parts this year by introducing several people to fishing. Like the Angler’s Pledge, we think the First Fish Certificate – in any state -is a great idea.

You can check out West Virginia’s First Fish Certificate online at: ]

and you can check out Maryland’s form at: tournament/firstfishform.html] tournament/firstfishform.html

Good on you both.