It’s time to stretch some string!! Some of my most enjoyable time on the water is with families who are taking their kids fishing for the first time. All of my experiences (good and bad) have lead me to remember five simple rules about kids and fishing. You might say it’s my mental checklist to make sure the kids and parents have a great experience.
Keep it simple and fun!
Do your homework before the trip and keep the equipment you plan to use easy to operate. Avoid long discussions about how everything works. Plan on a location that will be a short ride and comfortable conditions.
Kids like to catch and not fish - fish for action, not size!
Target species that are readily available and will be easy to catch! Ensure that the kids are catered to (bait their hooks, cast the rods if needed and when they have a fish onboard take the opportunity to talk briefly about the species and of course take a picture. In addition do not forget the other events going on around you. Dolphin swimming, manatee passing by, or an Osprey in the air. Don’t make it just about fishing, make it about time on the water.
Kids need praise!
This is where some careful planning and understanding will come in handy. Let them know when they have made a good cast or spotted a dolphin swimming, a simple great cast and good eye will go a long way.
Keep it about the kids!
We all have visions of what the perfect first fishing trip looks like. Fishing side by side with our kids, they’re making perfect casts, and the fish are biting like crazy. Although this can be the case, it can also be the complete opposite of what we actually experience. Make sure you have creature comforts to keep everyone comfortable. Hats, sunglasses, plenty of sunscreen, drinks, and bug spray are a good start.
Teach them about conservation!
I’m not talking about saving the forest or global warming; I’m talking about simple and interesting things about nature and preservation. Fish habitat, why it’s important not to throw trash overboard, tides, and fish size regulation. These messages will make a positive impact on your children’s outdoors experience.