I know a lot of you, especially new parents, want to get your kids out fishing, but I caution you that a bad experience may end your child’s interest in fishing. The following are some tips that I have learned and received from other anglers on how to get your kids interested in fishing.
In the early years it has to be fun. A child’s attention span is short, especially if they are not catching fish. Do some pre-fishing activities. Get them to help put the line on the reel. If they are old enough, teach them some basic knots and how to tie on their hook. Watch some fishing shows and talk about what kind of fish they will be catching. Take them out and buy them their own tackle box and fill it together with some basic tackle. A special fishing hat is always a big hit too.
Practice casting in the backyard, at the park or an open field. It can be a lot of fun. Place some targets around for them to aim at and make it a game. This will help improve their casting technique and help them control the distance of their casts.
The first day out will be an adventure for both you and your child. Remember you are going on their first fishing trip, so plan accordingly. This trip may last for a few minutes, or for an hour or two. It will depend on you.
Pick a nice day with reasonably warm temperatures and not during heavy bug season. If you are using bait, get them to help dig worms or get them to pay for the worms and/or minnows at the local supplier. It is a good idea to plan for things other than fishing. My grandson would fish for awhile, check out the lake shore and use the binoculars that we brought to watch birds, ducks and geese along the bank.
If permitted we would have a small fire on the shore and heat water for hot chocolate and he would tend the fire and be happy while I got to fish a bit longer.
Now we must talk about snacks. I found that when the food and drinks ran out, the children were done. So pack lots of snacks and maybe create one special snack that they really like that they only get when they go fishing.
During the early years of our marriage, my wife would say, “If you take one of the kids with you, then you can go fishing.” My son had a six-foot fly rod when he was six-years-old. Did he fish much? No. But he found an ant’s nest in a big old pine tree, there were blueberries growing along the bank of the river and there were always snacks in the cooler. Of course he wanted to come fishing again and today, fishing is his passion too.
It is up to you as the adult to make your child’s first journey fun and adventurous. Keep it high energy and stop fishing when they want to stop. It is not all about catching fish, but when they do, it has to be celebrated. My point is, learning to fish is one thing, and enjoying fishing is another.
Mid-May to mid-June is when most of the local fishing derbies are held. I encourage organizations that are offering a derby to email me the details and I will let readers know where and when they are being offered.
The smolt wheel is in the LaHave so the Department of Fisheries is starting to count the smolt that are going down the river. These fish, if caught, must be released.