Have you ever been fishing with kids? If so, it is an experience you will never forget, both good and bad.
A little preparation goes a long way
I have taken mine a handful of times, at different ages, and each time I am reminded of the importance of preparation, both for the kids and the parents. These are not burdensome preparations, as you can have a great time on a whim or with minimal planning, yet there are certain things that if not gradually addressed can make your trips more prone to disaster; and by disaster I mean hooks flying, tangled and snagged lines, spilled bait, nothing biting, etc.
Again, don’t get me wrong, you can still have lots of fun, but I guarantee a little preparation ahead of time can go a long way, especially if this is your first time fishing with kids or do not go often.
6 Tips On Fishing With Kids
So here are six tips to help you survive fishing with kids regardless of the age or experience. And I think this list is generic enough that most families can use it. Here it is:
- On the first few trips, do not expect to do any “grown-up” fishing. Don’t strap on that spinner-bait, hula popper or plastic worm. Trying to find time to cast for the big ones just will not happen. As soon as you get one cast in, there will be a hooked shirt or a rod in the water. Instead, focus on being hands-on with the kids, helping them cast, keeping the line tight, etc. You may find an opportunity at some point to do some grown-up fishing, but just assume from the outset that you won’t and save yourself the disappointment. Spend quality time helping them and it will pay off in later trips.
- Prepare beforehand by casting in the yard. This is critical. Get them an easy, yet reliable, rod and reel (and we all know that is the legendary Zebco 33 (made for ages 1-100)), tie a weight/sinker on the end (or clip on a float/bobber) and cast around the yard. Set up targets for fun, something like hula-hoops. Let them practice without a hook and become somewhat proficient with casting.
- Every single trip, you must have “the talk.” You know the talk: Being loud will scare the fish, make sure no one is behind you when you cast, be careful around the water edge, etc. Sure they will say, “Yes I already know that,” but they forget it each time and need to be reminded.
- Always have some worms to catch small fish. Another crucial point. At the end of the day, kids just want to catch fish! You can try for the big ones, but more important is that something is biting. It is easy to catch brim/bluegill/sunfish with worms and they put up a great fight for kids. This will always be a great memory from my childhood and, let’s be honest, I still love fighting those little guys.
- Have a backup plan in case the fish do not bite. Okay, so what if the fish don’t bite and the kids are getting “bored?” Be prepared with a backup plan. Get a plastic bottle and make a minnow trap. Take a walk around and study the wildlife that calls that setting home. Whatever you decide, make sure you have a backup plan in case no fish are biting.
- Bring snacks and wipes. Time flies when you go fishing and kids get hungry, so bring some snacks along. In addition, with all the worms, fish and pond water, wipes make it easy to clean your fingers for eating.
Go Make Some Memories
There you have it. These have helped us better prepare when fishing with kids. I have some great memories when I myself was a kid and I always appreciated those who took me. It is your turn. Make some memories. All of you will be much the merrier for it.
What preparations would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.