So you want to pass on your love of fishing to your kids. Many avid anglers feel excited doing this but don’t know when and how to start. Truth is, kids of all ages can go fishing, as long as you match the trip to their age. We’ll walk you through a few basic fishing skills that you should teach your kids, as well as additional tips to make the trip more enjoyable!
How to Choose Bait
Teach your kids how to choose bait for fishing. Tell them what fish eat. Live baits are anything alive or previously alive that you use to catch fish, such as worms, leeches, minnows, crayfish, crickets, and grasshoppers. Artificial bait includes spinners, jigs, poppers, flies, and spoons that come in various sizes, styles, colors, and patterns.
Fish like both artificial and live bait, but there are advantages and disadvantages to both of them. It’s important that your kids know this.
Casting is another important fishing skill that your kids should learn to start them young. Try practicing this even in your backyard! First, tie your heaviest bobbers onto the end of your kids’ fishing lines. Set a hula-hoop in your yard. Your kids should stand about 5 feet away from the hoop, and cast their lines so their bobbers land in the hoop.
Through time, they can practice further and further away from the hoop. To make it challenging, make the target smaller by using a frisbee, a bucket, or a hoop from a basketball net.
Baiting a Hook
Teach your kids to bait their own hooks as well! Since they won’t have to wait for someone else to help them bait, your kids will do more fishing and they’ll gain a sense of confidence in being able to do it themselves.
If you think your little one is still too young to hold live bait, try using gummy worms and practicing on oversized, barbless hooks.
How to Reel in Fish
Once your kid knows how to bait a hook and cast, teach them to reel in the fish properly. Now, this can get a bit tricky. Tell them to relax and let the drag and rod do the work. Assist them in keeping the fishing rod up at a 45-degree angle, aiming it straight to the fish.
Once the fish stops trying to move away, then it’s time for them to do the work. Without reeling the fish in, lift the tip of the rod up like they are trying to point it skyward to about 90 degrees. A stronger, or heavier fish will often put a major bend in your fishing rod, but don’t worry this is normal. Then, let them reel as they lower the rod tip back down, keeping even pressure on the fish.
Go Fishing with Your Kids!
Fishing with your kids is a great family activity! When looking for locations, look online or ask around. The local tackle shop is a great place to get some help. Try bringing the kids with you when you visit the store. Have them observe while you ask for pointers on where to go, productive baits for the area, and information on fishing regulations and fishing licenses.
Remember to plan the trip according to their age. Older kids will want more challenge but younger ones will get tired easily. Set a time limit and try bringing some toys for them to do when they’ve had enough fishing.
Another tip we have is to use basic gear. The key items include a fishing rod, fishing line, knife for cutting the line, and the bait.