I’ve grown up with fishermen on both sides of my family, and now that we are near a pond I can’t wait to take my own kids fishing all the time. Here are some tips for fishing with kids (that I’ve gleaned from my own life, friends, and Google).
I come from a family of fishermen! We live very near the coast and directly near tons of ponds and lakes. My father and his brothers have fished their whole life. My maternal grandfather actually set up an area in his barn for his fishing equipment and boat. Oh and he actually built a special station just outside of the barn with a sink for scaling fish.
Fishing is serious business, folks.
Now we live on the family property and we’ve got a pond! I’ve been thinking about getting fishing poles for the kids for a few months now so was so excited to jump start the process when Shakespeare and Stren contacted me. Let’s just say the kids were so excited to open the boxes up and start fishing.
We’re on a mission to make fishing a regular part of our lives (hello, free food) because it’s just so good to have things to do that don’t involve technology. We’ve recently stopped watching TV during the week at all (because it stops the whining) and particularly in the summer it’s nice to have things to do outside.
Plus, I see fishing as an investment in your family. It’s time together to talk, make memories, and get some good ole Vitamin D. One thing I did learn while being together with the kids out there is that, if they are little, you might to consider taking one child at a time. This is good for both relationship building, and also so you can actually fish instead of just trying to get everyone from hooking each other.
Make it easy
If you don’t have any fishing equipment, start easy. We actually have a lot of fishing equipment in our barn since my grandfather was a lifelong fisherman, but it’s dusty and old and I don’t know what goes where. These fishing combos save you all that trouble and come with a small tackle box that has everything you need to get started and instructions! Oh and they come pre-spooled which is a total lifesaver for newbies. My husband was not excited about spooling the fishing line himself. Ha.
Change your expectations.
If you’ve gone fishing previously it might have been a relaxing time for you. Maybe you put the pole in a PVC pipe in the ground and sit down and relax. If there are kids and hooks, however, it won’t start out relaxing. In fact, it might take years until you feel that a fishing trip feels like a calming family bonding time. Also, it might feel like a lot of work for a few fish. But that’s where we have to stop thinking things aren’t “worth it” on our end. I’m sure it’ll be “worth it” to them!
Avoid the baby poles.
Lots of people (and blogs) say to avoid the very small child poles. They aren’t even that cheap money wise, but you get a cheap line and they won’t grow with your child. A youth pole is different than a child pole, and youth poles will grow with your small child until adolescence. The very small toddler pole is not generally recommended.
I went trout fishing in Scotland with a lifelong best friend. It was completely awesome in every way except that I didn’t’ actually catch a fish. They told me I was a pro at casting! Ha. I remember growing up fishing occasionally and I was far more excited about casting well than catching a fish. Weird, but true. Anyway, if you have more than one child who’s going fishing let them practice casting away from the other siblings. Let each child practice casting in a short distance at first, then farther and farther. Before you put bait on the hook, let them practice.
Above is my daughter “practicing” before we’ve even threaded the fishing line and put hooks on. :)
Obviously this isn’t a necessity, but I personally think live bait is the most fun and interesting for kids. Depending on their age, worms may be more exciting than the actual fishing :). That said, it’s important to pick the right bait for kids because you want your kids to experience big wins so they catch a love for fishing. According to Take Me Fishing, you want your bait to be approximately the same size as your hook. Worms or crickets are fine, but maybe cut the bait to fit the size of the hook.
Our neighbor and friend, Jason, said we could keep crickets and warms as well and that would add to the excitement. Actually he called the worm wigglers. We’re going to the local bait shop to get some soon. If we can’t get a dog we can get crickets, right?
Just bring them along.
If you’re thinking of taking kids fishing, but aren’t sure where to start, just go to ponds, lakes, or fishing holes with your kids. Even toddlers will enjoy a walk in nature. Look at the pond for fish, talk about fishing, eat some fish! Just get them out there and exposed and build anticipation. Anticipation makes things so much more fun!
Fish where the fish are.
Now there are fish in our pond, but there aren’t tons. Fishing in our own pond goes against this, but it’s easy. So convenience wins! That said, if you want to get your children into fishing go fish where the fish are. This will mean the kids actually get to experience the excitement of catching a fish regularly that first time. Whether you throw them back (fun in itself) or bring them home, your kids be more excited about fishing again when they’ve experienced some success.
Keep time limits short.
If everyone’s having fun, by all means stay. But as children begin to fish, particularly if they aren’t catching anything, don’t plan an all day fishing expedition. A few hours may be enough, or even one hour if it’s one of the first few times you go. Bring snacks, blankets, or chairs for the kids to sit down if you’re fishing at a pond or lake.
You can actually get barb-less hooks (or wiggle the barb off with your thumbs, apparently) to help your kids practice casting without worrying about hooking someone else. I am definitely doing this because in order to actually go fishing with all my kids (ages 4, 3, and 2 years in August) I want it to be a safe environment. And my youngest will totally want to mill around and play, but will not understand not to walk in the path of a flying line!
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