Sunday, May 22, 2022

Take a Kid Fishing

Fishing is in full swing, and there is nothing better than a special fishing trip with a child.  It doesn’t matter if the child is 5 years old or 15 years old, that child has dreams of catching fish and having a good time with a special person.  I have had the chance to take dozens of kids fishing in the past decade, and a few adults that don’t get out much too, both are very satisfying and fun.  No matter the age, you will need to take certain steps to ensure you are introducing them properly to the sport of fishing. 

         To have an enjoyable time fishing with a youngster you need to focus on certain things that probably aren’t important on a regular fishing trip with an adult buddy.  Whether you choose a niece/nephew, grandchild, neighbor or your son or daughter, these simple steps will help you both have a good time fishing. 

The first thing you need to do is homework.  I know school will be out in about a month or so, but rarely does luck lead to catching fish.  There are certain reasons why fish are in certain locations.  A good place to do some research is the bait shop.  They speak with dozens of anglers each week and tend to know what species is biting and baits that work bestt.  Another good resource is the DNR website.  Each
Thursday they offer up tips and areas that are doing the best for fishing action.  Probably the best way to get some information is to talk with someone that you know that fishes often.  They might be able to give tips and even share a secret spot with you.  By doing some research, hopefully you will decide on the best place to go fishing.  Keep in mind that in the summer months, it is best to fish during the morning and evening hours, leaving out the middle part of the day. 


        The second thing to consider when taking children fishing is to make it a short trip.  There are plenty of lakes and ponds in all parts of the state that you will be able to catch some fish at.  Don’t overlook those public ponds inside the city limits, they often hold a lot of scrappy fish, perfect for kids.  Long rides in vehicles have never been a favorite of kids, so you wouldn’t want to start your fishing trip with one.  Try to make the entire experience around three or four hours.  You will be able to keep them active and excited about fishing for that length of time, if you stay out too long, they may never want to go again.

         Next, kids just want to catch fish.  Of course everyone wants to catch that huge fish every time they go fishing, but that doesn’t happen very often.  When it comes down to enjoying yourself, it is all about the catching.  If you and the child are catching fish they will soon forget about that dream of landing a huge one.  Make every effort to help the child catch fish, even if you might have to set the hook and let them reel it in.  Their entire goal is to catch fish, help them in any way to achieve that.

         This might be the most important part of a kid’s day on the lake or river; snacks and drinks!  Have plenty of these ready, they make for a great distraction if the fish aren’t biting very well. Anyway, who doesn’t like Pringles and a pop while fishing?

         Kids like to learn things, especially what they enjoy, so make the trip educational.  Teach the kids the proper terms of the tackle you are using, names of fish, what to call the bait or lures, and even explain to them what types of structure you are fishing.  The more they know the more they may become interested in fishing and a chance to make it a hobby in their future.

         When taking a child with you on a fishing trip, try and make it as positive as you can.  You know they will get snags, you know they will spill their pop or juice and need another one, you know they will ask at least 20 questions and you know that they will probably get a hook in you.  When these things happen, handle them as best you can and keep the mood light.  When the child does something good, make sure and tell them.  Whether it be a good cast or putting the worm on their hook just right, kids love to be told they are doing something right.  It will make them feel good and give them the confidence they need to try again and do it right.

         A day fishing with a youngster can be more than catching fish.  Make it a total outdoor experience.  Look for nature around the body of water that you are fishing and point it out to the child.  Things that could be pointed out are birds, small mammals and amphibians like turtles and frogs.  Kids will enjoy looking at the nature around them and allow them to concentrate on something other than their bobber for a while.  By taking a look at your surroundings you and the child will make it a true outdoor experience.

         Everyone loves a good picture; so don’t forget to take a camera.  Hopefully you will get a great shot of that youngster holding up their catch.  This will make for a great memory and might be treasured for a long time by them.  When taking outdoor pictures near water, make sure the camera is pointing away from the sun, water in the background will only make the picture look better.

         Finally, the most important thing is to take the proper safety precautions.  Sunscreen and a hat should be worn to protect the skin.  If out on a boat, all children under 14 years of age must wear a life jacket at all times, this might be a good idea if you are fishing on a bank that is close to the water too.  Safety should always be on your mind when taking a child near water, so keep them in sight throughout the day.

         Have fun out there and get a kid fishing as much as you can!

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