Do you remember who taught you to fish? Of course you do. Those precious memories last a lifetime. And they make fishing not just a hobby, but a testament to the person that introduced you to it.
So when it’s time to pass your love of rod and reel onto the next generation, you want to do it right. Who knows how long it’s been since you first learned to fish, so those memories of what it felt like to awkwardly hold a rod and squirm along with the worms you were using for bait are probably a bit fuzzy.
So this blog is going to give you some pointers and things to remember when you take your favorite kid fishing for the first time. Remember – it’s not about what you reel in, it’s what you instill in your upcoming angler that’s really important.
Make sure you have kid-sized equipment
Imagine holding a fishing rod that’s twice the size of yours today. You wouldn’t be very graceful, would you?
Go ahead and get your favorite little angler a kid-sized fishing pole. Not only will it be lighter to accommodate a child’s smaller body, but the grip will fit small hands, too. We sell kid’s rods and equipment here if you’d like to check it out.
And don’t forget to buy a few little red-and-white bobbers. Kids love the excitement of watching their bobber wiggle and disappear when a fish comes biting!
Practice casting with a casting plug
If you want to keep your skin and eyeballs intact, you probably don’t want to start your kid off casting with a hook. Instead, purchase a casting plug, a weighed plug that’s tied on the end of the fishing line that provides the weight you need to cast, but without the danger of a hook.
Have your kid practice casting in an open field with the casting plug before you take them to the water. It’s a lot of fun and builds their confidence and skills, too.
Bring what kids need
You may be able to stay out on the water all day with a cooler of beer and a sandwich, but your kid won’t. These ravenous, easily-bored little angels need plenty of snacks and water to avoid the “munchie grumpies.” Make sure you bring sunscreen, insect repellant, band aids, and toilet paper, too.
Expect a max of 2 hours
Kids get tired and bored easily. It’s best to adjust your expectations now so you won’t be disappointed when your “day on the water” becomes “two hours on the water.” Remember, the point is to make great memories, not make a great catch!
Plan for distractions
Along the same line as above, casting and waiting for two hours straight probably isn’t going to keep your little one engaged. Make time to take snack breaks, look for fun rocks and plants on the shoreline, and talk about the different animals that live in the area. Follow the child’s lead – they’ll show you what they’re interested in.
Fish where the fishing is good
Teaching a kid to fish is all about making good memories, but let’s be honest, you kid will LOVE to actually catch a fish on their first day. So if you know a good spot where the getting is usually good, take them there.
Teach them proper “catch and release”
Make sure to teach your child why we catch and release and show them how to do it properly. Explain that fish can only be out of water a very short time, just like how humans can only be under water a very short time.