- Fishing gets you and your children away from everyday distractions.
- The relaxed atmosphere and quiet time can help open communications.
- Fishing together creates common ground and shared experiences.
- Fishing is an activity at which all kids can succeed at some level.
- Fishing encourages problem-solving and decision-making.
- Fishing links kids and the natural world in a way that can generate caring, responsibility and action.
Tips on fishing with kids
Relax! Leave problems behind, and take along a smile, an open mind, and a lot of patience.
Do the basics first. Simple equipment in good working order will help avoid frustration. An inexpensive rod and reel, with live bait and a bobber, will get you off to a good start.
Make it a shore thing. Fishing from shore allows kids to run and play when they need to, and gives them the option of fishing on their own or with friends as they get older.
Fish for little fish. Catching fish is important; the size of the fish isn’t. Sunfish and other pan-sized fish are often plentiful and easily caught by beginners.
Make it fun. A fun, safe time is more important than the size or number of fish caught. Praise children for their patience, their cooperation, and simply for trying.
Teach skills... patiently. One challenge of fishing is mastering skills. Help kids learn rather than do everything for them. As they develop skills, their self-esteem will increase.
Help solve problems. Lines tangle. Hooks get snagged. Fish stop biting. By working with you to identify and solve these problems, children will be learning what they can try in the future.
Be flexible. If your child is just too excited to sit still with a bobber and live bait, change tactics. Try a lure they can cast and retrieve. Move up and down the shore looking for good spots.
Be responsible. You are a role model, so set a good example.
Share an awareness of, and respect for, the environment, private property and other anglers.
- Don’t litter – leave the area as clean or cleaner than you found it.
- Discuss the rules and regulations with your child, and follow them.
- Properly release fish you aren’t planning to keep, and make good use of those that you do keep.
Don’t stay too long. How much time you spend will depend on the age of your child and whether the fish are biting. Be alert to signs of restlessness and don’t be afraid to cut your trip short.
Don’t make the first trip your last. Plan another trip. Talk together about what was fun and rewarding, or bad and boring, so you can make the trip even better next time.
Keep those promises. A promise to take a child fishing is as important as any other commitment that you make. Keeping that promise will strengthen your relationship.
Each child is different, and will respond differently to the fishing experience. Keep an open mind, go with the flow and, above all, have a good time!