With the cooler weather in the south, many children and parents are getting a nice relief from the blazing sun. It creates a perfect time for families to get outdoors, get active, and play together! On a nice day, one of our favorite things to do is to go fishing. It allows us to spend quality time together and the more we do it the better we get.
We started fishing about six years ago when my oldest was five. It began as a way to change things up a bit for us. Also, it was convenient since we live just five miles from the Atlantic Ocean and even closer to the intercostal waterway.
So how do you get started fishing? It is actually a pretty low maintenance activity and once you have your gear, it is something you can do over and over again at a very low cost.
How to Introduce Your Children to Fishing
1. Gather your fishing gear. Simple to use and inexpensive fishing rods are the best way to start. We went to our local discount store and found Disney themed rods perfect for 4-6 year olds. There are junior rods for older kids and tweens. You want to check the maximum weight that your rod will hold (I recommend up to 10 pounds) and buy your fishing hooks accordingly. You will also want to buy weights to add to your line and some extra hooks for when you lose some. If you can, buy a fishing pole that comes with a starter kit or tackle box (but skip all the fancy worms and tackle). Total for rods, hooks, and weight is about $20.00.
2. Get good bait. The type of bait you need depends on the type of water you will fish in. For lakes, I recommend night crawlers (worms) and for salt water, half a pound of shrimp from a bait and tackle shop. Either one will cost you less than $3.00 or so.
3. Dress accordingly. Where there is water there are bugs! We usually wear long pants and long sleeves but if the weather is warm, we make sure to use lots of bug spray. I recommend covered shoes to avoid losing a flip flop in the water or stepping on hooks around the water.
4. Other fishing supplies. Bring some scissors to cut your line, paper towels, chairs or blankets. And if you want to avoid getting your hands all messy, a cheap pair of rubber gloves (even kitchen gloves work!) I keep a stocked fishing bag with all of our supplies handy and keep it next to our rods. This makes leaving for our next fishing a very simple task.
5. Pack some patience. You win some and lose some with fishing. Be patient. Young children will want instant results so you should prepare them for knowing that they may not catch anything right away or at all. You can fish an entire afternoon and not get anything (although I don’t recommend that since this can deter future trips). We normally fish an hour and a half max. Bring back up plans to occupy your children. Maybe pack a lunch for a picnic or bring a bike or toys. We have a rule when we go fishing, no electronics but you can bring something to keep you busy while you wait for a bite.
6. Ask for help. Try to fish around other people. One, you can share in the joy of other people catching fish and two, you can ask for help and tips. When we first started out, I found myself asking everyone around me how to do everything from hooking our bait to casting our line. Now we often help others that are just getting started.
Have you tried fishing with kids yet? If so, what you are tips?