Fishing is a wonderful and versatile hobby. Need to get away and spend some time clearing your mind? Get out on the water. Looking for something with a bit of fun and challenge? Get out on the water!
Another great thing about choosing fishing as a hobby is that you can do it yourself or with others. And one of the best things about it is teaching your kids to fish. It’s like a gift you’re giving them for life.
But there are a few things to know before taking kids on their first fishing trip. If you’re unprepared, things can go haywire and become an unpleasant experience for everyone involved.
But with a bit of planning, preparation and the right attitude, your kids’ first fishing trip can be a magical experience that they never forget!
Here’s what to keep in mind when planning your fishing trip.
This is a guest post in our outdoor adventures with kids series
Fishing is a wonderful thing to do, but it can go wrong quickly if you don’t take precautions. Safety should always be taken seriously, especially when there are kids involved.
If you’re on the water, life jackets are a must. Accidents can happen quickly, and a life jacket could be the thing that saves a life on the water. Make sure your kids keep them on at all times when on a boat.
If you aren’t on the water but rather on the shore, make sure your kids understand safety around water. If they can’t swim, it might be a good idea to teach them before your trip.
Also, make sure any tackle boxes or other storage spots that house hooks, pliers and other items are child-proof. Nobody wants a trip to the ER for a hook through a finger!
If you’re going to be on a boat, make sure you also stock up on anti-nausea meds if the kids haven’t been on a boat before.
Choose A Suitable Location
Heading to your favorite fishing spot in the rocky rapids is probably not quite suitable for children. Make sure you choose a spot that’s decent for fishing, but also safe for your kids to be around.
There should be a nice area on the shore for them to sit or play if necessary. Make sure there are no hazards, whether that’s poisonous plants, debris like broken glass, or places your kid could fall into the water easily or get stuck.
If you’re going to be on the boat, location is somewhat less important. But you’ll still need to make sure the boat is a safe and appearing location for the kids.
Teach the Kids About Fishing
Before you go out on your fishing trip with your kids, it’s a great idea to teach them a bit about the sport. Teach them what each piece of equipment is, and how it all fits together. Make it a game, with prizes for remembering what’s what!
Once they know what things are, teach them the basics of fishing. Practice casting in the backyard (without a hook, of course). Teach them how to tie a knot, what bait to use (try to find out what exactly you’ll be fishing for beforehand), and how to hold the rod and reel a fish in if they get a bite.
Be prepared to repeat yourself a lot. Your kids aren’t always going to catch on very quickly. Make this part of the fun and don’t get frustrated!
Stock Up On Food
You may be able to go through a full fishing trip on just a few energy bars and Red Bull, but your kids certainly won’t. Make sure you’re stocked up on snacks. In fact, we suggest over-stocking!
If your kid gets hungry, there’ll be no enjoying your fishing trip. Make sure you pack them a healthy, filling lunch, but include a few yummy snacks as well so they have something to look forward to.
Also, don’t forget hydration! Dehydration can have severe consequences, so ensure that your kids are drinking enough while they’re out on the water or shore. Make sure you take enough along that you don’t run out during your trip.
Prepare For Boredom
Kids have short attention spans. That’s a fact! Even if they’re excited about and interested in fishing, chances are they’ll get bored somewhere along the way.
If your kid gets bored, it can put an end to the fun of your trip. But if you anticipate it from the beginning, you can plan around it in case it happens.
If you’re on a boat, take things like games, books, or other safe things to keep your kids busy. If you’re on the shore, you can encourage your kids to throw a ball, splash in the shallow water (if they can swim, and with their life jackets on), or collect interesting shaped rocks or flowers.
If your kids have really lost interest in everything you have there, it may be time to cut the trip short and plan another one that’s a little more fun.
Fishing can be an amazing, meditative hobby and it’s an excellent activity to introduce your kids to while they’re young. With some prep work, your kids’ first introduction to fishing can be the start of a lifelong passion.
Remember, kids will need special equipment—you can buy or rent—but typically, they won’t need a fishing licence. You will, though, so make sure that’s also in order before you hit the water!
Our Guest Blogger:
Kenneth Reaves has been fishing since he was a kid and believes every child should have the chance to learn how to fish and how to find peace out on the water. He writes about all things fishing at Perfect Captain.