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Kids in fishing: Taking off on a tangent at the Chicago Muskie Expo

Steve Statland with his granddaughter, Layla Dawn Ellis, in his historic jacket, at the Chicago Muskie Show.
Credit: Dale Bowman

So Steve Statland had his granddaughter along when he was inducted into the the Illini Muskies Alliance Saturday at the Chicago Muskie Expo.

I had our youngest son along.

Apty enough today, Sunday, Jan. 7, is Kids Day at the Expo.

The Chicago Muskie Expo opened at 9 this morning and runs through 3 p.m. at Pheasant Run in St. Charles. Tickets are $12, there are some deals. Kids 12 and younger are free.

I bumped into Statland and his granddaughter, Layla Dawn Ellis,¬†when we were walking the show after the presentation. She had on his historic coat, including Statland’s noted moniker, “Big Tuna,” and lots of honors and awards.

She’s got some of her grandfather’s savoir faire. (OK, I just enjoy tossing out savoir faire in an outdoors piece.) She also seemed to be enjoying the time in the fishing world with him.

Which led me to thinking about kids in the outdoors. Over the decades, I’ve done the outdoors for the Sun-Times, I listened to and read millions of words and dozens of ideas on how to get kids into the outdoors.

Frankly, I think some of it is pompous chest-thumping by people with an overriding economic interest in promoting kids in fishing or the outdoors.

I still think it comes back to what matters in any other form of parenting, take care of the your kids or grandkids and those kids associated with them. If your family unit is anything like ours, there’s a core group of half a dozen kids who float through your house at some point during the week.

Those are the kids who are your primary responsibility in getting involved in the outdoors.

If each parenting unit takes care of getting that core group involved in the outdoors, a lot of this desperate push to get kids outside would be on the way to being solved.

But maybe that is expecting too much of parenting units.

Back to the Expo.

Saddled muskie at the Lax Reproductions booth at the Chicago Muskie Expo.
Credit: Dale Bowman

And speaking of kids, as I segue to a couple notes on the Expo, here is a photo of the saddled muskie at the Lax Reproductions booth.

Our youngest son is a couple years too old and a little too big to mount the saddled muskie.

Big remains big in muskie lures.

I like Mammoth Custom Lures, in part because they are a suburban bait company. I did a hand comparison with one of their baits in the photo at the bottom.

Big is big.

The Expo settles into the space at Pheasant Run and assumes its role as the gathering place for the muskie world.

I will do more on the IMA induction another time.

A big bait at the Mammoth Custom Lures booth.
Credit: Dale Bowman