Fishing is a great way to spend a few hours bonding with your kids in the great outdoors, and it is typically a rather affordable activity that won’t break the bank. But while fishing isn’t exactly rocket science, there are a number of common mistakes parents make that you’ll want to avoid when teaching your kids the basics of fishing.
Just embrace the following five tips and tricks to give you the best chance of having a great time on the water with your kids:
1. Provide your kids with size- and age-appropriate gear.
Although it may be tempting to hand your child one of your old hand-me-down fishing poles, they’ll have a much better time (and experience far fewer technical difficulties) if you set them up with a kid-friendly rod and reel combo. A 5- to 6-foot-long rod and a spincasting reel is ideal for most youngsters.
2. Select a kid-friendly fishing location.
When first learning to cast, your kids will be a bit of a safety hazard for anyone in the area. Accordingly, you’ll want to pick a place with plenty of elbow room while they learn to sling their line out over the water. It’s also a good idea to pick a place that has a bathroom within walking distance.
3. Try to catch kid-friendly fish.
Don’t spend your time trying to catch the wary and skittish gamefish that experienced anglers target – your kids aren’t likely to catch them, which will surely lead to boredom and frustration. Instead, target the abundant and easy-to-catch species native to your region. While different areas host different fish species, most parts of the country are home to bluegill, catfish or perch, which are all great species for kids to target.
4. Use real baits rather than artificial lures.
Artificial lures are popular with advanced anglers, but your kids will have better success using a worm-, cricket-, or corn-baited hook. This will also save you a bit of money in the long run, as artificial lures are all but guaranteed to end up snagged on underwater logs and rocks when used by inexperienced anglers, forcing you to cut the line and tie on a new lure.
5. Don’t forget to follow all local rules and regulations.
The fishing laws and regulations vary from one state to the next, but you’ll need to do your homework and find out which licenses and permits you’ll need to fish legally. Most residential fishing licenses are pretty affordable, and most states allow children under 15 or 16 years of age to fish for free. Some states even provide free-fishing days or allow you to fish private ponds without a license.
Just be sure to maintain a positive attitude and do your best to keep things fun when teaching your kids to fish. Fishing is supposed to be fun, so offer plenty of encouragement when things aren’t going well and celebrate with your kids when things do.
If you’d like to learn more about teaching your kids to fish, cruise on over to Outdoor Empire and check out their comprehensive review of the topic. There, you’ll learn a few more ways to improve your kids’ chances of catching fish, as well as additional recommendations for keeping them comfortable on the water.