The DFO released the 2015 Survey of Recreational Fishing in Canada in February 2019. It revealed some interesting insight into the fishing industry. According to the data, males made up 79% of all resident anglers. As well, the survey revealed that most anglers are over 45.
One young angler is hoping to change these stats. Twelve-year-old Averie Rose Bonin is an avid angler and fledgling YouTube star.
Averie Rose uses her YouTube channel to promote the fun of fishing. She hopes that her work will encourage other kids to get hooked on the sport.
For these reasons, and many more, Averie Rose is one of our Champions of Recreational Fishing!
Who introduced you to fishing?
My dad is the person who first introduced me to fishing. He always tells the story of how he put me in my stroller and took me to Humber Bay Park in Mississauga when I was just seven days old. It was spending time with my dad that really sparked my love of fishing.
How old are you and how long have you been fishing?
I’m twelve years old and fishing has been part of my life since the start. I have been going on fishing trips with my family since I was only a week old and have been fishing myself since I was able to hold a rod. My very first rod was a pink ice fishing rod that I used for everything. I was very small so instead of a big six-foot fishing rod my dad gave me the ice rod because it was a better fit.
Why did you decide to start making YouTube videos?
In March of 2018 I had the opportunity to go to the Bassmaster Classic. It was such an amazing trip, and thanks to our family friend Dave Mercer, I was able to meet some of my favourite pro anglers. When I got home from the Classic and told my friends all about it, only three people knew what I was talking about. I thought this was pretty crazy considering I live in a town on the lake where fishing is something you can do at any time. That’s when I decided to start making YouTube videos.
I love being on the water and I love fishing. YouTube lets me share my experiences and with it I hope to inspire others to get outdoors and try fishing for themselves. Fishing makes me happy and I’m sure that if other kids have the opportunity to get out and try fishing they may just find a new hobby that makes them happy as well.
Who are some of the guests you’ve had on your YouTube channel?
I’m super lucky to have had a chance to film with, and learn from, some of the best anglers in our region. I learned the basics of steelheading with Chris Giles, caught GIANT smallmouth bass on Lake Erie with Simon Frost, trolled for walleye with Captain Paul Powis out of Erieau, fished the white bass run in the Trent River with Nick and Mika Pujic, checked off a bucket list fish with Rob Jackson when I caught a 49 inch gar on the Ottawa River and after a 45 minute battle, finally boated a 140 lb sturgeon under the guidance of Anthony Moreschini.
I’ve also been lucky enough to go out several times with Paul Castellano or as I like to call him Coach Paul. I call him Coach Paul because he’s taught me so much this past year. He hasn’t just taught me how to catch certain fish in different situations, or how to approach a tournament, but he’s also been a great friend and truly believes in the importance of getting more kids involved in the sport. He’s really become a mentor to me and I will be forever grateful to him.
And of course I can’t forget my family. My dad and little sister have both made guest appearances in my videos and they’re some of my favourite.
What is your favourite fish to catch, and why?
I love catching all fish, I’m not picky. I like learning about different species and catching those once in a lifetime catches. If I had to choose I’d say that I have two favourites right now and those are bass and carp. There are a ton of bass and carp that live in bodies of water near me and I have grown up catching them. Both species have a lot of fight in them. The thrills of catching these fish make me want to come back to the water, and catch them over and over again.
Touching fish: gross or cool? What’s your best tip for getting over a fear of touching fish?
Touching fish – not gross but maybe a little slimy depending on the type of fish. I grew up touching fish and I think it’s probably something that you get used to.
If you have a fear of touching fish the best thing you can do is take it one step at a time. Have someone who is comfortable hold it for you to start and watch what they’re doing. Get used to being near the fish. Maybe hold the fish with the help of someone else and then once you’re ready just go for it. Fish can be tricky to handle and you really need to make sure you handle them with care. Different species may need to be held in different ways so be sure you know how to hold them before you grab them. These steps can work for anglers of any age.
Why do you believe recreational fishing is important to kids?
I believe recreational fishing is important for kids because it allows them to spend time in the outdoors with friends and family. We need to get outside, to explore and to be active. Recreational fishing is just one of many ways kids can get out and have fun.
What are some important fishing safety tips for other kids who want to start fishing?
If you’re young and you want to start fishing the first thing you need to do is find someone to go out with you. Talk to your parents, ask grandparents, other family members, or maybe even family friends. There’s going to be someone who would be happy to take you out fishing. They don’t need to be super experienced but you do need to have someone with you. Make sure you’re prepared for your fishing adventure and don’t forget to bring your life jacket along.
What issues currently affect recreational fishing? What can we do to solve these issues?
I think one issue affecting recreational fishing is the fact that very few kids get a chance to experience it. We need things like fishing clubs both in and out of schools. Places where kids can learn about the sport. There are some youth programs out there doing great work, such as Fishing Friendzy, The Next Cast Youth Fishing Program and the Shimano Ontario Youth Championship, but I’d really like to see fishing clubs in all schools across Canada.
Some schools want to start fishing clubs, but there are liability issues because of hooks and the danger associated with being by the water. If there were fishing clubs in schools, more kids would be exposed to recreational fishing who might not otherwise have the opportunity.
Tell us about the picture featured at the top of this article.
This September I was lucky enough to fish in my first ever bass tournament with Coach Paul (Paul Castellano). It was a charity tournament for the London Children’s Hospital Health Foundation. It was located on my home body of water, Long Point Bay.
We started the day casting near deep weed beds but all we caught there were pike. So we moved on and that’s when the bite started. It was fish, after fish, after fish for Coach Paul but, I just couldn’t seem to keep them hooked. I had only landed one fish out of the five keepers. As the day was coming to an end, we needed one more big fish to seal the deal. That’s when I FINALLY managed to land a huge Largemouth bass. It was my personal best largie and we ended up winning the tournament. It felt really great to share that moment with Coach Paul after everything he has done for me this year.
Do you know a Canadian angler who fits the profile of a “Champion of Recreational Fishing?” Perhaps they introduce new anglers to the sport, or advocate for sustainable policies in government. Maybe they’re breaking down barriers on and off the water, or creating innovative ways for people to fish ethically. We’d love to chat with them! Please contact us or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Canada Fishing is the national voice of Canada’s anglers. We lead the effort to preserve your right to sustainably fish on our lakes, oceans, rivers and streams. KCF strives to inform anglers of current and potential issues and threats affecting recreational fishing and access to public waters. As well, we motivate anglers to take action on matters of importance to the future of fishing and conservation. Furthermore, we’re your voice on Parliament Hill. If you would like to contribute to our efforts to “Keep Canada Fishing,” you can donate now via PayPal.