Mom’s Guide to Fishing with Kids for the 1st Time

Mom’s Guide to Fishing with Kids for the 1st Time

The biggest thing to know about going fishing with kids is that it is about spending quality time together. Avoid putting pressure on yourself and your children by expecting to catch lots of fish or especially big fish. I tell  my kids before every fishing trip “Remember they call it fishing  not catching “. Patience is the key!  Our family loves fishing because it  provides a great time to enjoy nature in each others company. Now fishing with 6 children is an adventure of its own. But we have found these tips to be helpful especially for 1st time fishers.

Important Fishing Tips

Don’t Over Think It Just Do It!

Introduce children to fishing at a young age.  I would recommend that you start by taking them to a local lake. We went to a local park for our first trip and they loved it!  They saw other kids and families fishing and they just couldn’t wait to begin. So I think it is an important 1st step to take them outside to see other people enjoying fishing.

Practice Ahead of time

Practice casting at home before you head out on the water.   Most reels come with practice casting plug which are perfect don’t have hooks and work great in the backyard.  Trust me when I say a  little practice can make a big difference when it comes time to getting the bait to the fish.

Pick the Perfect Spot

When you do actually go fishing for the first time, plan to go somewhere where there are plenty of easy ways to catch fish.  Children need to be motivated to wanted to keep fishing. So I would suggest going to a place that is stocked so they can catch several fish.  It doesn’t matter if they’re small — catching fish is the key, not catching big fish. Try to stay away from places that have slipper slopes and banks.

Remember to Be patient

Make sure you have set aside enough time to spend with your children fishing free of distractions.   Little ones  are going to make mistakes as they learn how to do thing properly. So my best recommendation would be to encourage them and laugh with them during this fun time. They will squeal when they touch the worm, hooks will get tangled and chances are that the works and hooks will wind up on the floor covered in dirt. But none of that will matter when you hear the squeals of glee when a fish no matter the size is caught.

Teach safety 

I am a big believer that no matter where you decide to take your family fishing children who can’t swim should wear a life jacket.Next teach your children how to properly handle hooks.   For children under 6, I would suggest that an  adult bait the hooks.  For children 6 and older teach them how to bait it themselves. Trust me they will love it! Might I also recommend that you use a fake fish for children under the age of 3. Our 2-year-old loved it!

Use the Right Equipment

For young kids there are a wide variety of  inexpensive spin-cast rod and reel combinations. I recommend these children rods because a if you give them an adult-sized rod  it will be difficult for them to use. The goal is to make their trip fun and easy. The wrong size rod could leave them feeling  frustrated and disappointed.   The rod and reel should fit a child’s hands for easiest use.   Shorter rods, four to five feet in length, and smaller reels will be much more comfortable.

Bobbers are very important. I suggest placing them about 18 to 24 inches above the hook. . My kids LOVE the  small, round, red and white bobbers because they let you know if you are getting a bite. They have so much fun watching the bobbers! I just adore their excited yells when it goes down.  I also suggest  a small tackle box as a good way to encourage a child to keep fishing gear in one place.

Now Don’t Forget the Bait

Earthworms are our go to bait. Honestly, I think they are probably the number one bait for a child’s fishing experience. Why you ask? Well, in our experience they are not too difficult to put on a hook .  Now how you get them is up to you, you can dig them up easily in your backyard, or buy them in bait shops.   Minnows and meal worms also work well.   Artificial lures work great but require some practice to be used effectively but aren’t nearly as fun as live bait.

What Else Should I Pack?

Remember the raincoats in case it sprinkles and hats for sunny days. Bring snacks or a picnic lunch. Don’t forget a comfortable chair. Now, a must on every family trip for us is the Dry Fox towel. It is so versatile. It could be used to keep you warm, as a clean place to sit, or to dry yourself off. I also suggest you take bug spray.

 Fishing at the Perfect Spot

Make sure your perfect spot that is comfortable and safe for your family to fish at.Talk to you children about staying away from slippery or steep banks. Check to make sure  each of your members have enough casting room. Once, you are ready.  Help the child to cast if they need but remind them that long casts aren’t necessary. I know my children love to see how far they can cast and try to see who can cast it further. Now time to play the  watching the bobber game!

When your child catches a fish take the time to properly identify and measure fish.  The first fishing trip is also the time to begin instilling a respect for fellow creatures. Once the fish is identified and measured there are two choices.

  • First, if you have an ice chest, you can keep the fish your child catches. However,  it is important to keep only the fish you will eat.Don’t forget to address size and bag limits and the reasons behind them.
  • Second, you may want to release the fish that you catch. You must teach your child to be careful when handling a fish for  live release.   You must make sure to minimize the length of time the fish is out of water.   Then you must gently remove the hook.

How Long Should Our Trip Be?

Young children probably should not be expected to fish all day.   I have found on average an hour or two is all wecan take of straight fishing .   I find that taking a break for a family picnic helps to build the stamina to continue fishing or if we have have our fishing fill it is a great way to end the trip.   The important thing here is to enjoy your time together.Fishing is a great family activity.  Introducing your children to a lifelong sport safely will mean a lot to you and them.

When Should We Go

Anytime that you can get away with your kids safely is a good time. However, as you gain experience you will see that fishing is not an exact science some times are more likely to be productive than others. Some things to consider are:

  • Time of Day: For freshwater fishing  dawn and dusk tend to be the best.
  • Weather: Many species of fish tend to fish actively just before and after a front passes through.

Happy Fishing to you and your family,


35 thoughts on “Mom’s Guide to Fishing with Kids for the 1st Time

  1. Such a cute post! I love fishing in the summer, however I have a rather impatient group of kiddos!! We usually just end up boating instead 😂😂

  2. Fishing with kids can be one of the most relaxing times spent with them. That is, if you don’t get “weirded out” over live worms!

  3. Great post, we love fishing but haven’t taken our little boy yet. I must admit I am quite nervous bringing him anywhere near water as he’s fascinated with it and want to see everything! It’s also quite cold now, so really don’t fancy sitting outside for a couple hours! 🙂 Definitely an activity for next spring/summer!
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  4. Such a sweet post…some of my fondest memories as a kid were fishing off our dock at our cabin.

  5. Love taking them to some place that is stocked with fish. Smart way to keep them motivated.

  6. I have never been fishing and my husband is not a fisherman either. It looks like a lot of fun and catching the worms before could be as good as the actual fishing trip.

  7. It’s really fun to go fishing with the family! I think it’s one of the best memories that I have! It’s good to go fishing with the kids as well, it’s going to be a fun and memorable experience for everyone.
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  8. This is the perfect activity with kids! Love all your tips it looks like you were having a lot of fun

  9. Ahhh! I cant tell you how much I love this! I went fishing so much this past summer, with my nephew! Cant wait til it warms up so I can start going again!

  10. My kids just fished for the first time this summer and loved it! What a great guide!

  11. Taking kids fishing is a great activity for them to do. They learn to have patients and I know a lot of kids don’t have that.
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  12. It looks like you had fun with the kids!

  13. This sounds like so much fun! I’m not really big into fishing but it sounds like a fun day!

  14. Ah fishing is fun with kids or adults.

  15. This is so cute and great tips. Looks like so much fun and I can’t wait to do this stuff!

  16. Fishing is fun. Great to do with your kids!

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