Teaching children to fish is a great way to connect them to the outdoors and get them away from game machines and the TV.
Tips to help make fishing fun with your children
- Buy good equipment: Avoid cheap rods and reels designed for children. These are often too difficult to work with as the line is cheap and snags easy.
- Spool the reel with fresh line and attach the float for dock and boat fishing.
- Find a good location: Avoid crowded areas as new anglers are often over eager and more likely to cast into the crowd than catch a fish on their first attempts. Smaller lakes and ponds also offer smaller fish. Landing a lunker can scare some kids away from fishing.
- Practice casting in an empty fishing lot or park area before taking them to a pond or lake. It’ll get them excited and help build their confidence.
- Remove the float: Once they’ve had success with the float, encourage them to practice feeling for nibbles from the line.
- Life Jackets: Have children put on their life jackets even if they’re fishing from shore. On the first few outings, they’re often very excited and we don’t want them swallowing any water.
- License: Many states and provinces require licenses for children. Check with your local tackle shop before heading out as a ticket or worse is no way to end a fishing trip.
- Bait: In summer, common earth worms come to the surface at night as the dew comes out. For older children, catching their own bait is a great experience. For younger children, take them to the woods, having them over turn rocks and logs to find their own bait. There’s some tips for catching live bait on this link.
- Snacks: A healthy selection of snacks and drinks is essential when fishing with young children, especially on hot days.
- Conservation: With a growing population, we’re putting greater strains on all resources including fisheries. This is a good opportunity to share concepts such as catch and release and the importance of conservation in order to ensure that our children’s children have the opportunity to fish.
- Children have short attention spans. While there is no age limit, keep in mid the scope of the outing.
- Attempting a weekend camping trip might be too much for a 3 year old unless the camping trip has more going for it than a long fishing expedition. Start off with fishing by the shore.
- If your home is close to the water, be sure to pick a spot that is safe and doesn’t offer any hazards should they fall in as they’ll likely visit the same spot on their own.