Most adults find that helping a kid catch a fish is more satisfying that fishing on their own. Following are 10 time-proven tips to make the magic happen.
Fishing isn’t just fishing. Plan other activities for breaks from the rod and reel. Swimming. Collecting aquatic insects with a bug net. Playing with G.I. Joe action figures. Having a picnic. Gathering drift wood for a fire. Using binoculars to watch great blue herons and other birds.
Limit your ambitions to fish on your own. Especially if you’re outnumbered by little people, don’t try to fish along with the kids. Concentrate on keeping their rods rigged and baited.
Take snacks. This is mandatory. Goodies should be impervious to water or wrapped individually so only one person’s snack gets wet or fish-slimed at a time. Take a bag for the trash, too.
Stay grounded. You may want to fish from shore or a dock rather than a boat, especially if the kids are very young. On shore, they can dig in the dirt, throw rocks (yes, at the bobbers), make roads, and explore when the fish aren’t biting.
Choose kid-friendly species. The walleye is not king in kid-fishing circles. Young kids generally don’t have the patience to wait for walleyes to bite. Choose waters that hold perch or crappies or stocked trout, where the action is more consistent.
The lure of bait. Don’t underestimate the appeal of worms, minnows and leeches to kids. Include kids in the stop at the bait shop, or precede the adventure with a nightcrawler hunting expedition. Let kids mess with the bait once you’re fishing.
Take plenty of those pre-moistened wipes. See No. 3, above. Where there are snacks (and worms and minnows), there are hands and faces that require frequent cleaning.
Wear life jackets. Kids should wear life jackets, and they’ll wear them more willingly if they fit well. Life jackets should be worn by kids fishing from shore, too, where the water is deep or there’s a significant drop from the shore or pier to the water.
Bring a “possibles” bag, a duffel with sunscreen, bug repellent, first-aid supplies, towel, change of clothes – any of the little things it’s possible you’ll need.
Enough is enough. Most parents limit fishing outings to three or four hours for younger children. Sometimes even less. That’s usually plenty for kids, and there’s no surer way to make kids dislike fishing than to force them to stay too long.
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