Every angler has some early fishing memories. Going out as a kid and catching a small fish has sparked a life-long obsession among millions of Americans. Now as an adult, you may be inspired to pass on the tradition with your own children.
You can create memories with your kids by taking them fishing, but keep these tips in mind before you head out to the water. These suggestions will help you create an enjoyable fishing experience for them, and could be the beginning of the next generation of anglers.
Fishing with kids is not the time to try out new spots or to practice new techniques. Go to a tried-and-true location where you know fish will be. Smaller ponds that are well stocked are a great choice, simply because you don’t have to search hard for fish. Just cast out a worm and you’ll be reeling in fish in no time.
Most anglers want to catch large trophies, but starting small is usually the best bet for first time anglers. Bringing in a thrashing giant can be scary for kids, so go after panfish and small baitfish before moving on to larger game.
Kids are impatient, and can get bored quickly. Forcing them to stay out by the water for an entire day could turn them off to fishing altogether. Plan on an hour trip, and if the kids are having fun and want to stay out longer, stay out and enjoy!
It’s likely that kids will get bored, distracted, or fidgety, during their first fishing experience. It’s possible that they may need a break or may have more fun doing something else, so go ahead and let them explore. They might want to fish for a while, and then go off chasing frogs or searching for turtles. You can even join in by playing “find-the-coolest-rock” or “count-the-most-dragonflies.” Ultimately, you want kids to see fishing as an enjoyable outdoor activity.
Okay, so after a half hour the kid is off playing with sticks and you’re still fishing. Finally, you hook one. Call the kids over and have them reel the fish in. If they say no, that’s fine, but letting them reel it in could give them the first hands-on fishing excitement they need to become life-long anglers.
We all know kids can get hungry fast. So before you make the journey to the fishing hole, pack up some kid-friendly snacks and a few drinks. The last thing you want is to get to the water only to have the kid say “I’m hungry,” and then loose all interest in fishing. While we’re on the topic, don’t forget the sunscreen and bug-spray, which will keep them protected, more comfortable, and more likely to want to go fishing again soon.
The last tip we can give you is to not push fishing on kids. Don’t force kids to bait the hook or handle a fish if they’re just not comfortable with it. It’s also a good idea to try to teach them good
techniques, but don’t spend all of your time nit-picking their casting motion or reeling. We want them to have fun, learn a little on their own, and enjoy spending quality time while trying out a new hobby. Give them a few pointers, and then let them enjoy the experience for themselves.
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