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.
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,