Tips for Teaching Kids to Fish
A question often asked is - How do I get my kids more involved in
fishing and the outdoors?
It is the first few fishing experiences that will either hook your kids for life, or send them
in search of more interesting activities such as their computer games.
Get them hooked, and you'll have fishing buddies for the rest of your
life. Follow these steps to insure a
successful fishing trip with your kids.
- First off, be prepared to devote most of your time to your child. If
your too wrapped up in your own fishing and leave the child to fend for himself, he will
loose interest and become discouraged.
- Water Safety - Water needs to be respected. Show your child how to act
safely around the water. Use your outings to teach them what they should do if they get in
trouble. Time and money invested in swimming lessons at the local pool is well worth it.
Wear a life jacket if you are not a strong swimmer; you are fishing near a fast-moving
current; you are fishing from a steep bank or slippery slope; or you are casting into deep
water from a dock or bridge.
- Safety in Numbers - another important safety measure is to fish with a
buddy. In case of an emergency, your buddy is there and able to assist. The Boy Scouts
refer to this as the Buddy System.
- Fishing is an Adventure to a child. Planning the trip is a big part of
the fun. Let them help with the planning and preparation of the trip. They will have
fun studying a map of where you're going, picking out snacks and drinks and then loading the
ice chest. If the fish aren't biting, exploring the shoreline or beach, digging for
buried treasures, and having a picnic lunch is just as fun.
- Have Fun! Kids have short attention spans. Don't worry about technique
and don't be concerned about catching lots of big fish. To a young angler, a small
hardhead caught with a simple hook and bobber is a major achievement. Don't force your
child to fish for hours on end.
- Keep it Simple - Kids can only take in so much information at any given time. The
more complicated you make it, the more frustrated they'll get.
- Quick Success with youngsters, will hook them for a lifetime. Make it a
point to find some spots that will quickly reward your little one with fish. Kids don't care
about type or size, but they do like to catch fish.
- Show your child how to appreciate the outdoors. While you're
fishing, take this time to observe other things such as birds, animals, and plants. Talk
about simple ways to keep the outdoors beautiful, such as properly disposing of fishing
line or picking up trash.
- If a child catches a fish, don't force him or her to take it off the hook, or to touch
the fish. Do it for them. Teaching by example is often be the best teacher. Give him or
her the opportunity to take their catch home to show friends and relatives. Let your child
make the decision. But do teach your child how to carefully and respectfully
handle a fish for the day when they do release them.
- Capture the Memories - take plenty of photos. Capture the memories so they have
something to share with their friends, family members, and ultimately, with their kids.