Fishing is one of the best ways to spend time with the kids and also get them to love the outdoors. Whether you live in the country or the city, we have five fishing tips for kids that will help start you out on the right foot. That's right, we're continuing our partnership with Take Me Fishing this year! Come see how we cast our lines in New York City for the first time at their Off The Hook pop-up fishing experience.
We don't want our kids growing up in a bubble — eyes glued to an electronic tablet, stuck indoors, hands always clean, and never really experiencing the world around them. Nowadays, that is all too common and something extremely important is being lost: THE WHOLE WORLD. If you are looking for a way to set your children free and give them a whole new take on happiness, consider these Fishing Tips for Kids.
Let them Enjoy the Environment
Take it from Chelsea and I, fishing can be a lot of fun. But for some reason, a lot of people believe it can only happen on the high seas or somewhere in the rugged mountains.
Sure, we first fell in love with fishing as a family in the Sierra Mountains, catching rainbow trout for dinner, but that's not the only way. We've enjoyed fishing in the ocean, off piers, in lakes, streams, rivers, and even in the desert. One thing we've learned through it all? Let your children explore!
Put yourself in their shoes. Most likely, this is a new experience. Regardless of where you go, the area itself can teach your kids something new when they look at it from an angler’s point of view. A pier, for example, is no longer a bunch of logs and concrete sticking out of the water. It's towers and canyons, crevasses and plateaus all with a different type of ecosystem living below it. There's bound to be something interesting on the pier itself, too. Sometimes a nice little bait shop on the end. In some cases, you might find a small shack serving milkshakes. While visiting New York, we got some awesome fishing tips for kids from the nice people at Take Me Fishing Off the Hook pop-up!
Keep Them Active
It's no secret that kids get bored easily. To fight this and the subsequent loss in motivation, stimulate them with tasks and try not to take short cuts. It could be as simple as making sure to walk a small distance to your fishing spot. This can give you time to talk with your kids, answer fishing questions and open up a dialog. Who knows, maybe you’ll find the answer to world peace. You might also consider giving them a small responsibility like carrying the tackle box or a pole or two.
Just teaching your kids “pole etiquette” is a good way to practice and demonstrate patience on your part. It also teaches them responsibility and manners on a small scale. Nothing helps a kid learn to be aware of their surroundings more than when they have a nearly invisible line with a sharp hook slung over their shoulder. Keep the pole vertical and look around you before you turn — especially before you cast!
You might want to consider teaching them how to strike up a conversation with other anglers in the area — when appropriate and safe, of course. This helps build self-confidence and important social skills, as they can ask about fishing success in the area or better ways to set a hook. You might even find they have more fishing tips for kids than what we’ve already thought of.
Let Them Go Hands-On
Kids LOVE to touch things, and there is a LOT to touch in fishing. Even if it makes them squeamish, it's good to get a feel for all that goes into fishing. Bait is better understood between the thumb and index finger. Hands-on is the best way to learn. The swimming efficiency of a fish and its immune system is better explained with a quick slide of the finger along its cold, slippery scales. What better way to truly immerse a child's brain in a learning opportunity than to let them see, listen, and touch all they can?
I specifically left out “taste” for a reason. That comes later!
Personally, novice fisherman that I am, I could not tie a hook to the line without physically trying it myself three or four…or ten times. These things take practice, dexterity, and muscle memory.
Plus, just think of all the pretty treasures you can collect along the way as they learn to love fishing.
Know When to Take a Break
When it comes to fishing tips for kids, this one is pretty simple. Kids don't have a ton of patience. The longer they're out there, the more antsy they get. If it's sunny, they will also get tired faster. This can lead to the fishing beginning to feel like work. Make sure to pay attention to signs of fatigue and give them physical and mental breaks. This will build their endurance and ensure that they want to come back again. The last thing you want is for fishing with mom or dad to feel like a strange prolonged time out with a pole and a string.
If you follow the previous four steps, you shouldn't have too much of a problem getting back out there with your kids. Be persistent. Return regularly, teaching your kids that this is a cherished way to spend time with them. Even if you don't catch anything. The common denominators are getting outside…and YOU! In today’s society, caring about each other is paramount for the betterment of our children. They have far too many opportunities to write things off. Fishing with your kids is a great way to help them learn to focus on what and who matters most. You learn to speak with them, celebrate a catch with them, and show them that you care about them. Because time is more valuable than money, and they will see what you spend it on. No receipt needed.
Head to an Off the Hook Pop-Up for More Fishing Tips for Kids
If you've never fished before, or just want an easy opportunity to drop a line, check out TakeMeFishing.org for beginner tips and follow along with the Off the Hook pop-up. It's probably headed to a dock, lake, pier, or town near you. It's free, it's educational, and it’s fun. And they have LOTS more fishing tips for kids. Even if you can’t make it to Off the Hook, places to fish are closer than you think. Check out this interactive map for family-friendly fishing spots near you, then share your experiences on the water with us using #GetYourFishOn.