Introducing your kids to fishing is a great way to spend quality time with them. Rather than playing with play-do and pretend ice cream shop for the hundredth time, you have the opportunity to experience a hands-on sport that can spark new interests and bring your relationship to the next level.
Fishing can be a fun and challenging sport that teaches patience and discipline. It’s also a great way to get some exercise, fresh air, and sunshine.
With my 3 and 1-year-old, fishing can be quite the challenge, and if we don’t land a fish within the first few minutes, attention has sailed away, and they are ready to move on to sandcastles and Goldfish. So even if you are reeling in Pinfish for the first hour, at least you are making them smile and preventing the kicking and screaming.
Preparing for Fishing With Kids
When teaching your child to fish, remember that it is a process. Take time and enjoy their company as they learn how important fishing can be for future generations!
People make a big mistake when teaching young children about the sport of fishing, rushing them into it or perhaps forcing it on them.
When you start fishing with kids, keeping things simple is important. Start by fishing in areas that are easy to access and have plenty of fish. As your kids get older and more experienced, you can move on to more challenging fishing spots.
It’s also good to start fishing early in the morning when the kiddos are still attentive and have the energy needed to focus. Plus, the sun can be a bit too strong during the day.
Teaching your child to deal with setbacks is an important part of their development. Children are often learning new things and making mistakes, so you should teach them how to recover from these failures rather than showing frustration or anger towards the incident at hand.
Snags and tangles are inevitable, so use those moments as an opportunity to teach. Do not show frustration when your child makes mistakes; instead, teach them that these things are part of the journey and problem-solving is not just part of fishing but all aspects of life.
It’s important to remain calm and patient, especially if the fish aren’t biting. There are many other positives to point to, such as the simple pleasure of spending time outside together, birding, the snacks on board, and other ways to keep the kids distracted until a fish strikes.
Pack More Snacks Than You think you Will Need
Every time I’m responsible for packing snacks for the family, I underestimate how much a 3 and 1-year-old can consume. I’m still amazed every time I pick them up from daycare, and they are finished with their dinner before we leave the parking lot. Don’t put yourself in this situation; there isn’t a Chick-fil-A dock and dine to save you….at least not yet.
Fishing can be tiring for little ones, so make sure they have a chance to rest and eat something.
When fishing with kids, it’s important to have plenty of snacks and drinks on hand. You don’t want your child to get cranky from hunger or thirst. Be sure to pack plenty of water, healthy snacks, and maybe even a few treats for when they catch a fish.
Safety Tips for Fishing With Kids
1. Always Wear a Life Jacket
Yes, we mean you too. When you strap on the life jacket as soon as you step out of the truck, you set an example to your kids of how important it is and hopefully eliminate any argument when it’s time to put on theirs.
2. Clearly defined Rules
Keeping your children safe while fishing can be a challenge. Make sure you set the rules ahead of time and follow them throughout any trip, especially if they’re really young. It’s very important to lay down the ground and stick to them early and often.
3. Use Kid-Friendly Tackle
No need for them to use the same tackle as you. That’s a great way to quickly lose their interest. When fishing with kids, use lighter tackle and smaller hooks. This will make it easier for them to land a fish and less likely to cause any serious injuries if they do hook one.
4. Use Barbless Hooks
When fishing with kids, it’s always a good idea to use barbless hooks. This will help to reduce the chances of any serious injuries if they do get a hold of the hook
5. Teach Them How to Handle Fish Safely
Once your child has landed a fish, it’s important to teach them how to handle it safely. Teach them how to hold the fish properly and release it back into the water.
5. Take A First Aid kit
A first aid kit should already be on-board, but if it’s not, add it to your fishing with kids checklist. Accidents can and will happen, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
6. Dress the Part
They must be dressed appropriately for the weather. This means dressing in layers and bringing a coat, even on warm days. It’s also important to wear sunscreen and hats to protect them from the sun.
7. Carry a Whistle
When the kids are starting to lose control, get it back with a couple of loud whistles to hopefully round them up again.
Additional Tips to Keep you Sane
Bring along some Toys
Bath toys make great companions for kids when they lose interest in fishing. Bring a fishing net, bucket, and some little plastic fish to keep them amused.
Don’t Forget the Camera
Make sure to pack your camera fishing with the kid’s trip. You’ll want to capture all the memories of your little one catching their first fish.
Take a Break
Fishing with kids can be tiring, especially for the little ones. Make sure to take breaks throughout the day to give everyone a chance to rest and refuel.
Let them help
Kids love being able to help out, so let them! Have them measure the bait, bait the hook, or hold the fishing pole. This will help keep them interested and involved in the fishing process.
Get Them a Tackle Box
Tackle boxes make great gifts for kids who love fishing. It gives them a place to store all their fishing gear and keeps them organized.
It’s More Than Just Fishing
A fishing trip is not just about fishing. Teach your kids about the plants and wildlife around them. Point out different trees and flowers, and tell stories about the animals you see. This will help make the fishing experience more enjoyable for your children.
Fishing with your child can be fun, but it’s not always easy. You might have to do most or all the work when they don’t want anything more than an ice cream cone! When this happens, make sure you’re grateful for the opportunity to teach your children.