A Family Affair - Linda Cavitt

We are a family that loves being on the water. We love fishing and we love paddle boarding. So when we can combine these two while spending time on the water it makes for a perfect family day. We also enjoy bringing our dogs along, because they are of course part of the family.

 Two of our pups enjoying some time on the water

Two of our pups enjoying some time on the water

We’ve been taking our kids out on the water their entire lives.  My youngest child was a baby when I started taking her paddling on a stand up paddleboard. That may seem a little extreme and most parents wait at least until they are a few years old. The point is paddle boarding is a wonderful activity that you can begin enjoying with your children at an early age.  I began by taking short trips and only lengthened them as long as they were having fun. I always bring snacks, dress them appropriately to protect them from too much sun and of course bring a life jacket.  The most important thing when taking your kids paddle boarding is keeping them safe.

 

 Enjoying a late afternoon of fishing

Enjoying a late afternoon of fishing

Wearing their life jacket has always been non-negotiable and is required by law until they reach age 6 in Florida. The same rules apply when fishing from a standup paddleboard as they do a kayak. Please look up any specific rules for your state or just ask your local paddle shop.

Unless the paddleboard is being used in swimming, surfing or bathing area, a relatively new law has been passed that a lifejacket must be accessible for each person

A 360-degree light if fishing around dusk or dawn

A noise-making device such as a whistle is fine; you can just attach it to the life jacket.

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Now that we got that part out of the way the real fun starts! There are so many great reasons to fish from a board. First you can launch basically anywhere there is water access, no gas bills, just simplicity at its finest. Paddle boarding is so versatile as well, one day you can paddle the beaches and catch small waves, the next you can be paddling your way down a fresh water spring enjoying the beauty of it all.  You get exercise, get to relax and fish, maybe catch dinner and spend time with your family. That is a lot of boxes checked off for one day!

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 Always bring snacks, lots of snacks

Always bring snacks, lots of snacks

 Mom and daughter doubled up!

Mom and daughter doubled up!

     

If your kids are anything like mine they like their phones and a simple waterproof case can keep it safe. They might even be surprised to find they are having so much they forget they brought it!

 Oldest daughter with a nice redfish

Oldest daughter with a nice redfish

 A Panhandle Redfish

A Panhandle Redfish

These days its hard to compete with technology stealing our kids attention and while its not a bad thing at all, its still so important that we take the time to expose our kids to the outdoors and help nurture a love for it.

 Paddling the fresh water springs just north of where we live in Panama City

Paddling the fresh water springs just north of where we live in Panama City

 Paddling the Dead Lakes – beautifully submerged Cypress Trees

Paddling the Dead Lakes – beautifully submerged Cypress Trees

 Heading out to collect some fresh scallops for dinner

Heading out to collect some fresh scallops for dinner

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We love to camp and spend several days oudoors, but a family day doesn’t have to be that extreme, a few hours on the water with a paddle or a fishing rod can start a lifelong romance with nature and a passion for the outdoors.