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Teaching kids to fish

One of the greatest pleasures for a fisherman is to share your joy of fishing with your kids, so teaching them to fish should be a high priority. This should be fun because not only are children overjoyed by the idea of joining in an otherwise adult pursuit with mum and dad but the adventure aspect is just as intoxicating for their young and impressionable minds.

But a word of warning, young children have very short attention spans and expecting them to fish for several hours especially when things are quiet, can lead to a potentially exciting excursion turning into the outing from hell.

A fun fishing day out with the kids should have them as the primary focus and fishing being just part of the days entertainment.

Ok where to start?. Probably the best place to begin is well before you even go near the water. Fishing is can be frustrating when you first start learning, those tricky little rods and reels just don't do what you want them to do and cause all sorts of problems. Casts that drop behind your back, tangles, nasty hooks that can embed themselves in soft parts of the body and lots of other things can cause not only frustration, but pain anger and a whole other range of negative emotions. It's therefore preferable to try and minimize these before we get serious and go anywhere near the water. Planning and some basic training are going to make that first real fishing day go that bit smoother and can be fun on it's own teaching the girls and boys a few do and don'ts on some quiet windy Sunday.

At home bring out the rod and reel they will be using when they actually go fishing and showyoung boy fishing them how it works, turn spools or bail arms, setting drags, winding in line, casting etc etc, basically everything they will be required to know and do for real. Don't go into too much detail initially, just small bits of information becoming more detailed as they start to grasp the basics and are ready for more. This is fun so we remove hooks and sinkers and tie on something like a plastic fish toy they may have or something else soft that won't take a window out if they just happen to launch one.

Show them a small cast yourself, then hand them the rod and walk them through the technique, correcting errors in as simple and fun a manner as is possible, eg "otoh that one went loopdy loop, I think you let the line go a bit early, try and hold it just a little longer". If things aren't going well take a break, grab a drink of water because it's hot work fishing, then come back and have them try again. If it becomes a task, call it a day and try again at another time.

If all is going well, start to mix things up, take a bucket and place it within their casting range and make it ten points or a treat if they can cast into the bucket. After a couple of casts grab their line and start pulling "hey you have got a big one on, better play it". This breaks up the casting training and gives them some winding and drag practice while hopefully putting a smile on their face as mum or dad plays the goat running around with the line.

With luck this will have given your child an idea of what to expect and maybe ironed out a few kinks in their technique, giving you a few less things to do when you do take them fishing.

The fishing practice is done (well some of it anyway) now it's time for some planning for the fishing trip.


Teaching kids how to fish

Taking your children fishing