Fishing with Kids

June 18 is International Fishing Day so teach your kids to fish! We all have our vision of what the perfect first fishing trip might look like. We’re fishing side by side with our kids, they’re making perfect casts, and the fish are biting! Although this can be the case, it can also be the complete opposite of what you’ll actually experience. Here’s how to make the most of your day out.

Tips to Ensure a Successful Fishing Trip with your Kids...

Keep it simple
Choose simple tackle, bait, and techniques. Fish for species that are plentiful and easy to catch. Your goal should be to keep their rod bent as much as possible. Don't worry about the type of fish you catch. The kids will be excited just to catch anything!

Kids need positive reinforcement
It’s okay and it’s expected that kids will make bad casts, fling the hook around in awkward ways, and probably drop the rod a few times. Let them know they’re doing a great job, and show excitement when things are going well. If they do something wrong, explain it to them, and teach them how to do it right. Expect to re-bait hooks and take out line tangles and knots all day. This is their day, not yours. The quickest way to turn children off from fishing is to get frustrated with them.  

Keep it about them
If the kids decide 2 minutes into the fishing trip that they’d rather throw rocks, let them throw rocks. If they want to play with the bugs, or splash through the water, let them. This is their outing. If the first few trips consist of only 3 casts and 2 hours of skipping rocks, then great! They’ll come around eventually.

Teach them about nature
Fishing is the perfect opportunity to talk about simple and interesting things such as nature and preservation. For instance, when they catch a fish, hold it for them. Show them the fins and how the fish use them to swim. Show them the eyes and explain how they see through the water. If you don’t know these things, learn them. Or get a book and read up!

Catch and release
Teach your kids about 'catch and release,' and keep fish within the legal catch limits. Let them know that by releasing the fish, it will be alive to reproduce, and that will create hundreds of more fish for the future. If you want to bring fish home, teach them to only bring home what they can eat, and release the rest. This is the time when kids will learn the importance of conservation.  

Keep them happy
Don't forget to use plenty of sunscreen and protective clothing. Don't make anything about the experience painful or unpleasant. Bring lots of snacks including a treat that usually is not allowed at home. Snacks can help break up moments of frustration and keep the kids content.

While there are never any guarantees in fishing, following these simple steps will without doubt bring success on your next fishing adventure with your kids.

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