Fishing is a great way to spend time with your family away from the din of the city. It teaches patience, perseverance, and the value of hard work. Of course, getting kids to like fishing isn’t that easy – and you’ll need additional preparation to make your fishing trips successful.
Start with the Basics
Kids need age-appropriate gear that they can handle and use with ease. Start with basic or simple fishing rods and hold off on the Shimano Stradic fishing reels. Wait a year or two before buying proper equipment – unless they immediately take a liking to the sport. Any large fishing store should have fishing rods for kids – but that’s not where your purchases end. You’ll also need polarized sunglasses for the glare. Kids are sensitive to light and the bright sun might get too irritating, especially during long trips. Bring along some sunscreen for UV protection – kids might recover from UV damage quickly, but stressing the need for sunblock should be done early in their lives. Add bug repellents if you’re fishing in mosquito country – unless you want endless complaints. Don’t forget life vests. Accidents can happen anytime (especially with kids) so make sure your kids stay safe whatever happens.
Tell Stories and Delegate Work
Without phones (hopefully), most of your idle time spent fishing will rely on conversation and storytelling. Regale your kids with stories of your first catch or your failure to land that big fish. Exaggeration and embellishment are a given in fishing stories – but a grain of truth should make your stories more interesting. Delegate jobs so that they’ll know what to do when someone catches a fish. They can be as simple as netting the fish and placing it on the livewell or complex chores like scaling the fish for cooking. Kids can be squeamish so you’ll probably be in charge of gutting and cleaning the fish. If they somehow manage to hook a fish – do as little as you can and make them feel they did most of the work. Catching a fish on their own would be a thrill and the satisfaction of providing dinner for everyone would be unforgettable.
Short Trips are Best
Don’t expect your kids to enjoy 8-hour trips right from the get-go. Kids can be impatient – so 2-3 hour fishing trips should be your goal in your first few outings. You can plan longer trips as your kids get older or as they get more determined to land as much fish as they can. Keep their comfort in mind and opt for a pontoon boat instead of a fishing boat if you’re renting or buying one for your trips. Pontoons are more comfortable and the extra space gives your kids more freedom to move about. Opt for one with a grill and start cooking your catch then and there – and bring a few of your kids’ favorite barbecue treats just in case the fish aren’t biting.
The earlier you introduce fishing to your kids – the more likely they will pick-up the sport/hobby. Make your trips as comfortable and fun as possible – and soon your kids will be the ones demanding for a day of fishing.