If you’re looking for a fun activity to do with your kids, fishing is a great option. Not only is it a fun and challenging sport, but fishing can also teach kids about the environment and ecology. In this article, we will provide some great tips to help make fishing with your kids an enjoyable experience for all!
Building Interest In Fishing
Are your kids enthusiastic about everything? Then you likely can easily convince them to go fishing with you! However, if they’re always occupied in their imaginations, you can gradually try to build up their interest by telling them your exciting fishing stories. Use past stories, or tell the stories of others to spur their imagination and create interest in the sport.
Spike their interest by telling them how you can go fishing together, how the spinning reels work, or what fly fishing is, or about the rules you need to follow. Show them all the fish they can catch and how they can cook their food by the fire. Maybe bring in the history of certain civilizations, and how important fishing has been them.
The lesson here is to understand your children’s interests, and tailor teaching or stories to those interests.
Tips For Taking Your Kids Fishing
With that said, here are the tips for you to follow when you take your kids on a fishing trip.
Start With Easier Equipment
Kids often don’t like complex things. Starting a kid fly fishing is quite a bit more complex than a simple spinning reel. For this reason, we recommend taking a simple spinning reel for the first few times. This will be much easier to setup, to teach, and likely even to catch fish. Once you build an interest, and a base level of skill, then is a good time to start introducing to more difficult methods, like fly fishing.
Take Them Kayaking
Take them on short kayaking trips before you take them on a full-blown fishing trip. It’ll help to accustom them to balance in the water, so they don’t get scared during the actual trip.
There are kayaks of all sizes. Kids’ kayaks are small and lightweight, so they’ll be easier to navigate properly. Teach them rowing, how to wear the life jackets, and then slowly accustom them to using their fishing rod while kayaking. A two person kayak can also be a great way to get younger kids more accustomed to being on the water. In other words, kayaking is a great intro to water sports.
Teach Them the Rules and Regulations of Fishing
Even with the easy basic fishing rods, you still need to follow some rules. This often means fishing in legal areas, understanding catch limits, having a licence, using legal bait, and catching and releasing where needed.
Teach your kids the rules that any angler should follow, how to be an ethical fisherman, whether they should catch and release a fish, which fish species they can hunt, and how they can help to conserve the environment and the waterlife.
Make sure that you have a fishing license yourself. It is extremely important to instill a respect for the outdoors from a young age.
Grabbing A Fishing License: Each state has different rules, but in nearly all states you can get a fishing license online. In addition, you can get a fishing license at walmart, or go to a local outdoors shop or fishing guide shop to pick up a license.
Begin With a Nearby Spot That You Know
Plan somewhere that you know well (if possible). Preferably, a place where you know fish will be catchable, and that success is likely. Try and avoid areas with tons of tree coverage, or weedy areas to make casting and retrieval as easy as possible.
This tip is to simply find an easy location, where catching fish is extremely likely.
Create Backup Plans
Kids can get fixated on one plan easily. So, you need to make a few plans beforehand and train them to be open to any change of plans.
You never know, a storm may come, or there aren’t many fish as you had anticipated. Make these changes exciting for them. Plan for change by having a plan A, B, and C, and talk about those plans ahead of time.
When things don’t go exactly as planned, having backup plans, and sharing that knowledge with the child can make things even more exciting, plus it can help instill some great skills and discipline for the future.
Bring Their Favorite Snacks
Bring plenty of their favorite snacks to the fishing trip. This will come in handy when they need a break or get hungry.
Be sure to pack extra snacks and drinks, kids always seem to be hungry, plus it’s always good to have some snacks on hand in case of an emergency.
Celebrate the Smallest Wins
Kids learn things by observing things around them. So, celebrate their small wins, even if it’s about identifying the fish, casting correctly, or spotting something in nature. These small wins all add up to an exciting experience, even if there aren’t tons of fish on the line.
Remember to keep things positive, and to promote good behavior, good ethics, good patience, and a bit of determination.
Make the Day About Them
Don’t make the day about your kids just fishing. Rather, involve a few other activities, like exploring the area around. Or maybe you can have a fishing competition with your kids to spice things up a notch!
Plan dinner after fishing, or going to another place they love. When reflecting back on the day of fishing, they will associate it with other fun activities, therefore, it is always a great idea to plan some fun activities before and/or after fishing.
Consider Eating The Fish That Were Caught
A picnic is a fun way to end the day on a high note and seal the memory for your kids. Celebrate their wins by putting up a bonfire, wrapping up the fish with a delicious marinade, cooking them over the fire, and enjoying the meal together.
Help your kids prepare the fish. This way, they’ll learn another survival skill as well. Bring along the condiments and sides you think will perfectly go with the fish.
This isn’t necessary for all fishing trips, but in some areas, and for some families, this can be a hugely effective way to build love for fishing as well as respect for the outdoors.
Fishing is not just a fun activity, but it can also teach us a lot. You’ll be teaching your kids survival skills while setting up their interest in fishing trips in the future. Try a new spot each time, and take them out on fishing trips frequently, so that they can master the skills needed.
With that, we hope that you find these tips helpful and will use them while taking your kids fishing.
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about