Nothing beats an afternoon fishing with the kids or grandkids. Fresh air and sunshine, a little bit of exercise, and plenty of laughs are much healthier than sitting in front of a TV or video game all day. Before you plan a fishing trip with the kids, there are fishing tips you need to consider if you want the kids to have a good time.
1. Make the first fishing trip fun
Adults on a fishing trip know that fishing is the fun of it and catching fish is just a bonus, but a kid standing around all day without even a bite is a kid who is going to learn to hate a family fishing trip. To build a love of fishing in your own kids or grandkids, choose a fishing hole where kids are guaranteed to catch fish. This might be a small pond overflowing with small fish that are eager to bite or a pay-to-fish stocked pond.
2. Set a good example
Teach kids that having a valid fishing license and following the rules is important. If they are old enough, share the regulation’s book for your state. Educate them on different species and show the young angler how to measure a catch to see if it is the proper size. If you are in a boat, make sure everybody wears life jackets.
3. Kid friendly equipment
Young anglers want to catch fish. They could care less if the lure weighs 1/4 oz. or 3/8 oz. Having the right equipment is important for the young angler’s success. Start kids fishing with a push-button spinning reel on a four to the six-foot rod. Practice casting with a dummy weight before you go to the lake. After they can safely cast the dummy weight, educate them on basic hook safety when casting. Always have a basic first aid kit handy.
4. Keep it simple
The first fishing experience for a child should be a successful one. Choose fishing spots you know hold fish that are eager to bite. Target smaller fish like bluegill or other smaller fish that are easy to catch. Rig the lines with small hooks and split shots suspended above the fish by a small bobber. Use the right bait for the fish you are after. Teach kids that it is okay to use live bait. Red worms are bait for a first fishing adventure.
5. Celebrate every catch
No matter if the fish is a few inches long or the child lands a big fish, make a big deal about the catch. If the fish is too small to keep, explain that it needs to go back into the water and grow up. Also, be prepared for tender-hearted youngsters who cry when you release the fish back into the water. Make sure they know there are more fish to catch.
6.Include the friends and family
Kids will have more fun if there are other kids fishing with them. Take along the whole family, or invite a best friend. Be sure every kid fishing understands rules and safety guidelines before you reach the fishing spot. Also, get permission from parents before you take kids out in a boat.
7.Take plenty of breaks
A child’s attention span is limited. While the child might want to fish, they will periodically need a break if the fish are not biting. Have a backup plan. If you are fishing from the bank, allow time for running and playing in the grass. If there is a playground, let the children take a break. Bring along a frisbee or a ball. One of the biggest mistakes parents can make is making kids sit for hours with no bites and nothing to do.
8.Make everybody comfortable
A little preparation can make the difference between an enjoyable trip and a miserable trip. Be sure kids are dressed for the weather. Bring sunscreen, bug spray, snacks, and drinks. Schedule fishing trips at reasonable hours. A young kid fishing does not want to wake up at four a.m. I suggest starting at around the same time school starts. This will still allow plenty of time to fish. Layer clothing to allow for cooler morning hours and warmer midday hours.
9.Be patient and teach
Spend time explaining things to the kid. The first time you take the kids out, talk to them about choosing an open space to have plenty of room for casting. Remind them to check their surroundings so their fishing line doesn’t end up in a tree and their hook doesn’t catch another kid fishing near them. If using live bait or lures, explain why fish want to eat that bait. Show them the most effective way to set the hook and reel in their first catch. When they are ready, introduce new techniques like jigging. With proper education and some success catching easy fish, your new anglers will be begging you to plan the next trip.
10.Recognize when it is time to go
Even if you are pulling big bass out of the weeds one after another, be ready to leave when the kids get tired of fishing. After that first fish, they will be eager to catch more, and when the fish quit biting the kids will get bored and be ready to leave. Taking kids fishing can be a lot of fun, as long as they are catching fish. Your best bet is to notice when the kid starts to lose interest and plan a second fishing trip for another day.
Final thoughts on fishing with kids
Fishing with kids is a great way to spend time together. If you plan these fishing trips with the children in mind, you will create memories that last a lifetime. Remember these tips when fishing with children:
- Have lots of patience if it is their first time.
- Choose a child friendly fishing location.
- Bank fishing is often easier than boat fishing when dealing with kids.
- Keep it simple and use a bobber and a hook for the first fishing trip.
- Kids lose interest quickly, so find a place where fish are guaranteed to bite
- Bring snacks and drinks, sunscreen, and bug repellent.
- Educate kids about laws, safety, and fish species so the next generation of anglers will do it right.
- Have fun!