Teaching your kids to fish: six tips for success.
Fishing provides a wonderful opportunity to introduce your kids to the natural world, spend some quality bonding time together and get them away from the various screens at which they are always staring.
But if you want your child to enjoy their first fishing trip, you’ll need to do everything possible to ensure that you catch fish. Kids get bored easily, and they won’t find it very fun to stare at a bobber all day long without getting a few bites. But by following the six steps detailed below, you can drastically improve your chances for success.
Target age- and skill-appropriate species when fishing with kids.
Walleyes, rainbow trout and bass may be worthy quarry for advanced anglers, but kids will have much more success targeting panfish and catfish – both of which are common in the many lakes and rivers. Additionally, these fish are typically abundant and bold enough to hang out near docks and beaches, where fishing is easy.
Use simple equipment when fishing with kids.
Leave the fly rod at home when trying to introduce your children to fishing. They may be able to learn to fly fish in the future, but stick to spin-casting or spinning gear for their first several trips. In fact, kids often have great success fishing with cane poles, which are not only effective, but inherently simple too.
Fish in the morning or the evening, when the fish are most active.
Many fish exhibit a regular activity pattern, in which they feed near dawn and dusk and rest during the middle of the day. Accordingly, you’ll want to target these times as much as possible, to take advantage of the fish’s natural activity patterns. It’s also more comfortable (and quiet) to fish during these times.
Use productive baits, rather than flashy looking lures.
Serious anglers may prefer to use artificial lures or flies to tempt trout or bass, but kids chasing bluegill, pumpkinseeds and catfish will have more success using real baits. This includes things like crickets, worms or wax worms. You can also use a number of things from your kitchen, including corn, hot dog slices (a very effective catfish bait) and frozen shrimp.
Make sure you fish alongside your children.
Even though you’ll have to spend a lot of time baiting hooks and untangling lines, you’ll want to make sure you keep a hook in the water too. You are more likely to hook a fish than your children are, which will allow you to hand off the rod to your youngster, who can reel it in and get all the glory. Reeling in the fish is the most fun part anyway, so you will want to be sure your kids experience that, if nothing else.
If you’d like to learn more about the best ways to catch fish with your kids, check out Outdoor Empire’s comprehensive review of the subject here.
Jon Sutton loves to spend time in the woods and on the water. His life has been revolving around outdoors since his early childhood days when he caught his first bluegill in his local pond. Since then he has grown into a full-fledged angler targeting salmon and bass during his free time. He also enjoys hiking, camping, and traveling.