Originally a necessity for feeding hungry families, fishing has become a hobby and a sport that has stood the test of time. Introducing kids to fishing can create a lifelong interest in the outdoors and nature.
There are several ways to introduce children to the sport of fishing but the first and best way is to simply go fishing. You can help the kids get excited by telling them your favorite fishing stories and sharing pictures of the biggest catches you have made. Share your favorite memories of fishing with family, special fishing or camping trips and other activities that took you out into nature. Kids will pick up on your natural excitement and enthusiasm about an activity you enjoy.
Kids enjoy hands-on activities and activities that they can help plan best of all. Let the kids help choose the fishing gear. Go over each item and explain what it is for and how it is used.
Take the kids to local sporting good stores so they can take a look at the various equipment available for fishing forays. Allow the kids to pick out a few special fishing items and equipment. Let them choose a small tackle box of their own. Most kids get excited about ownership in a new hobby or activity.
Make a trip to the bait store with the kids just before the fishing trip, or better yet, take the kids out to dig for fishing worms just before you go on your excursion. That can be a fun – and memorable – part of fishing for kids.
Before the big day, take the kids out into the yard and let them practice some casting (without hooks of course). Some kids might find pole fishing easier than casting with a rod and reel so this might be a good method to start out with.
Check with your state’s Department of Natural Resources. Most state DNR’s have free materials available about state and local fishing. Many also have coloring books, booklets and brochures about fishing just for kids to help them get excited and understanding this activity. These materials can be ordered online and are usually free or available for the cost of shipping. If you have a wildlife refuge in your area, they should also have these materials on hand and may even have special programs available to help educate and instill an interest in fishing.
Make a trip to your local library to see what books are available about fishing and fish species in your area. Check out a few books and read them together.
If you have a pond or a place in your area where you can feed fish, make this an outing with the kids. When they see the fish up close it can help them develop a deeper interest in the fishing trip you will be taking.
When planning your big outing to go fishing, make sure the kids have a hand in make the preparations and plans. Let them help choose what to pack for the picnic lunch. Give them a map and help them mark out the directions to the location where you will be fishing then when it’s time to go, let them help navigate with the map. Getting the kids in on every aspect of a fishing trip will help them take ownership of the outing and will make it more meaningful to them.
When you get to the big day, don’t rush the kids. Help them to understand that the fish might be a little shy about nibbling and biting. If they are squeamish about baiting their own hooks or taking fish off the hooks, don’t force the issue. Allow them to watch you and when they are ready they will try it.
Remember that kids tire easily and also get bored quickly. If they start to lose interest or get tired, take a break from fishing and eat lunch or simply pack it in and call it a day. The idea is to instill an interest in fishing and have fun, not make the kids hate it. If they are forced to spend all day doing something they have become bored with, you can bet they won’t want to do it again. Let the kids set the tone for the fishing trip.