In many families, fishing is more than a hobby – it’s a family tradition that’s been passed down from generation to generation. If you enjoy fishing, then you probably want to reel your kids in and help them find enjoyment in it too.
Inviting your kids on a fishing trip – whether to a local pond or offshore – is a great way to make a splash.
6 Tips to Enhance the Experience
A child’s first fishing trip is something they’ll remember for a long time. It’ll also set the stage for how they feel about fishing. A positive experience will get them excited about doing it again, whereas a negative experience could keep them away from fishing in the future.
Keeping this in mind, you should focus on different ways to enhance the experience for each of your kids. Here are some tips and suggestions:
1. Keep Your Expectations Low
As someone who loves fishing, it’s tough to go on a fishing trip and not spend the entire time casting your line in pursuit of a trophy fish. Remember, this trip isn’t about you. Keeping your personal expectations low will allow you to worry less about catching something and focus more on helping your kids find success. This allows everyone to have more fun.
2. Prioritize Safety
Nothing matters more on a fishing trip than safety. While your experience may mean you take certain things for granted, you must remember that kids are starting with a blank slate. They only know what you teach them, so spend a considerable amount of time going over safety rules and why they exist.
For starters, every young child should wear a life jacket when they’re on or near the water. Secondly, they should understand the dangers that come with casting and should be shown the proper motions so they don’t inadvertently hook someone nearby. Finally, kids need to remember the importance of protecting their skin and staying hydrated, even when temperatures are cool.
3. Make it Easy
Easy does it on a child’s first fishing trip. While you probably have your fair share of quality rods, lures, and equipment, you won’t be needing it. Complicated fishing setups will only frustrate your younger companions.
While the fishing combo packs at your local Walmart aren’t high in quality, they’re great for this purpose. They give your child a sense of ownership over their rod, come with everything they need to get started, and ensure you aren’t constantly worrying about your kids breaking expensive equipment.
4. Do More Than Fish
Fishing will obviously be the chief focal point of a fishing trip, but most kids will have trouble focusing on the actual act of fishing for more than an hour or two. In order to make the trip more enjoyable for everyone, have some other fun things planned.
One suggestion is to grill up some of the fish you’ve caught and eat them for lunch. If you’re on the shore, you may be able to build a small fire. If you’re out on a boat, consider getting a boat grill.
“The size of your boat usually determines the size of the grill your deck can accommodate,” Wholesale Marine explains. “One of the best boat grills for cooking in a compact space is the Magma Marine Kettle Gas Grill 17 Party Size. This stove offers high end features and quickly disassembles for easy clean up.”
You may also choose to bring some card games along or listen to music. The more fun you can make the environment, the more they’ll enjoy the overall experience.
5. Follow the Rules
“Most municipalities and jurisdictions allow youngsters under an established age to fish without obtaining a license of any kind, but the age at which this occurs varies,” outdoor recreation blogger Ben Team notes. “You don’t want to end up on the wrong side of the law on your child’s very first fishing trip, so make sure you find out the relevant laws and follow them to the letter.”
Following the rules gives your kids an accurate foundation upon which they can build their fishing knowledge. Cutting corners does nobody any favors.
6. Don’t Force Kids to Fish
The worst thing you can do is force your child to fish on your trip. That may sound like strange advice, but it’s true. If your child wants to fish, great news! If they get bored, let them do something they find fun.
As outdoorsman Joe Overlock says, “Feel free to let your child toss rocks in the water as you go. This will ruin all chances of catching a fish, but kids this young can’t resist the urge. At this age, the goal is just to introduce kids to the outdoors while you bring a fishing pole along for fun.”
Focus on the Big Picture
When it’s all said and done, a fishing trip with your kids isn’t about fishing at all. Sure, it’s a bonus if they end up loving it, but that’s just surface level stuff. A fishing trip with your kids is about spending time together, imparting valuable life lessons, and creating memories that last for decades to come.
Keep things in perspective and make the most of every minute.