Teaching Kids How to Fish
Fishing is not on a skill to be learned and practiced but it is most successful when its shared. The first feel of a tug on a fishing line is often all it takes to creates a love of this fast growing sport. Sharing the experience together creates memories that last lifetime. But lets remember they are kids too.
Here's our top tips for a great day fishing
* Focus on the Kids - not the fish. Remember, it’s about them having a chance to catch a few fish and having fun – not about watching you land a trophy bass. Leave your ego at home and dial the stress meter back a notch or two.
* Let the youngsters help in the planning. What tackle and snacks to take, what time to get started, how to procure bait. Keep in mind that the last can sometimes be the most fun of all – digging for worms, netting minnows, catching crickets.
* Target easy-to-catch species. Children don’t really care about landing a whopper; they just want to catch a lot of something. Bream were custom made for youngsters and a hand-size bluegill on light tackle will give an angler all he can handle, no matter what his age. Pinfish play the same role in salt water. (Just don’t plan on eating the latter, they’re 90% bones.)
* Select tackle that is age-appropriate. A cane pole with a small (#6 or 8) hook, a piece of split shot and a colorful bobber is fun, easy to use and effective. A collapsible, fiberglass pole is also a good choice. If the young angler is ready to try his hand at casting, a spin cast outfit is a good place to start. No matter what’s used, keep it simple.
* Make it safe. Start developing good water safety practices. If the water is deep, a light, comfortable PFD may be called for. North Carolina law require that all kids below the age of 13 be wearing one anytime they’re in a boat that is underway. Some basic instruction on handling sharp hooks and avoiding hazardous situations is also a good idea. (Hint: Flattening the barb with a pair of pliers beforehand makes it much easier to extract a hook if it does become necessary.)
* Keep it comfortable. Insect repellent, sun screen and a “lucky” fishing hat are essentials.
* Put the odds in your favor. Use bait that is most likely to get results. Worms, corn, crickets or minnows are hard to beat in fresh water. In salt water, just about anything that swims will bite small pieces of shrimp or squid. Whatever is used, if the budding angler decides playing with it is more fun than fishing, who’s to say they're wrong? In fact, gathering bait, if you decide to go that route, may be a highlight of the outing.
* Keep it short. Legendary showman, P.T. Barnum once said of his audience, “Always leave them wanting more.” His advice certainly applies to children and their early fishing experiences. Stop before it becomes too taxing – for the adult as well as the youngster. A stop for ice cream on the way home can be a good way to celebrate the day.
* Have a bathroom plan. This may involve carrying toilet tissue and, possibly, a porta-potty if a regular restroom won’t be available. (On a small boat without a head, a plastic bucket and a light parka to cover up with while using it go far toward keeping little girls happy.)
* Have a Plan B. Just in case of inclement weather or other, unforeseen, factors.
* Have fun. This is, by far, the most important thing. A kid’s perception of the world is, “If it isn’t fun, why do it?” That attitude definitely pertains to fishing. If a young angler wants to bring a fish or two home to show Grandma, that’s alright.
* The most important tip is to be patient, have fun and relish the moment. It’ll be gone before you know it
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