Taking a kid fishing can be a fun and rewarding experience. However, there are a few guidelines that will make the outing a success.
First, when you fish with kids, you don’t fish.
All your attention should be directed at making the experience fun and successful for the youngster. Depending on skill level and age, he or she will need help and guidance with equipment, lures, bait and casting. Be patient and encouraging. Casting is a new fine motor skill that may take time to develop the hand eye coordination needed to hit a target. Try to find a wide-open area with no hazards where your child’s line could get hung up.
Equipment is important.
Depending on age, supply the best equipment you can. A cheaper brand name, adult rod and reel is much better than a Snoopy rod and reel. Give a kid a grownup looking rod and reel he/she will take it more seriously. Plus, a better rod and reel will make it easier to cast and learn.
Success means catching fish.
Don’t be a purist and only use artificial lures. Start with lures for casting practice but have a box of juicy night crawlers OR a bucket of minnows or crawfish ready to go. Catching fish is what brings kids back. You catch more fish on live bait. Also, don’t fall into the trap of “I will catch the fish and then hand the rod to the kid to reel it in.” Let the kid do it all. Nothing is as boring as watching someone else fish, when you want the rod. You will lose his or her interest fast. This is kind of degrading also, especially to older kids.
Fishing can be a learning experience.
Talk about what you see: an osprey, a muskrat or identify trees like a dogwood or red bud. Teaching them why you cast behind that big rock in the middle of the river. Be careful not to lecture—this is supposed to be fun, not school. If the youngster is interested, he/she will ask questions which will open the door for more information.
Remember snacks, soda, and sandwiches as kids are always hungry.
Have a great time and remember when a kid is on the lake or floating down a river, he/she is not getting in trouble.
Ron Hartman loves just about everything outdoors. He has fished and hunted the high plains of Wyoming and the Rockies from Wyoming to Montana and Idaho. But his favorite thing to do is get in a canoe and float the clear, cold rivers of Missouri catching small mouth bass.