One of the great joys of fishing is being able to teach the next generation how to do it successfully. It’s a sport that doesn’t have any physical requirements because the fish do not care. As long as they have the right bait, fish will bite for anyone.
Introducing kids to fishing can be challenging. But if presented in the right way, kids can get hooked on fishing for a lifetime.
Let’s cover some helpful tips on how to present the sport of fishing to children.
The most important tip is to have fun. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the best way to get kids into fishing is to take them on a fun fishing adventure. When they have fun fishing, kids are more likely to put the outdoors at the top of their activities list.
First you want to plan your trip. Try to make the trip an hour or less. Check the weather to make sure it is ideal. You don’t want to drag children out in the cold or when it is raining or very windy. Next, pick a fishing spot, hopefully one where the child will catch fish.
You will need to bring simple equipment. There will be no need for different baits and an array of lures.A simple set-up with a hook, a worm, and a bobber is all you will need. A bobber also serves a visual aid on the water that will keep a child’s attention.
One way to keep the adventure fun is to haul in catches. But you don’t want to aim for large catches at first. Dick’s Sporting Goods recommends aiming for smaller, easy-to-catch fish such as bluegill or sunfish. These species are active eaters who are relatively easy to catch. They lie in shallow water most of the year and can be relatively easy to find.
Catching fish will keep the child’s attention and provide them with incentive to keep on fishing.
While out fishing, be sure to bring plenty of snacks and take breaks. Purefishing.com recommends fishing in periods. So fish for 30 minutes, take an extended break, then fish for another 30 minutes. Pack snacks that travel well and won’t melt in the sun. Bring water and juice boxes to keep energy levels up.
Also have a plan for inevitable lull in fishing. When there are no bites happening, have a back up plan in place. Maybe a quick hike around the lake or let them check out the live well if you are on a boat. If a child decides to play on the shore or find bugs, let them. Especially for the first few trips because you want the child to have fun outdoors.
It is also a good idea to begin teaching kids about the importance of conservation during fishing trips. Explain how the ecosystem works together and how plants and animals use lakes and rivers as a habitat. Show them catch and release techniques and explain how releasing the fish helps conservation.
Overall, you want to make a child’s fishing experience a positive one. Letting children have fun while fishing is one guaranteed way to keep them returning to the sport of fishing and creating a lifelong passion they can pass to their children.