How To Introduce Fishing To Kids
One of the worst things about the modern childhood is the unnatural attachment kids these days have to digital devices. From an early age, they seem to get hooked on things with a screen. It starts with the kiddie shows on TV, then they see adults constantly fiddling with smartphones and computers so it’s inevitable that kids will gravitate to these devices as well.
If you want to break this cycle and give the kids in your life a real childhood teach them some outdoor activities. One of the best ways to spend quality time with kids and teach them something useful is to take them fishing. We’ll look at some of the best ways to introduce fishing to kids so you can get them away from those flickering screens and give them a childhood they will enjoy and remember well into adulthood.
1. Start Them Young
One of the most important ways to get kids to love fishing is to start them at an early age. Kids grow incredibly fast and many of their habits are formed in the formative years before they even start school. This is the perfect time to introduce fishing to kids as they are naturally curious at this age and have a strong desire to explore. Fishing is one of those activities that can really only be done in the great outdoors and the environment around the fishing spots is usually full of trees and other interesting things to look at. This pre-school age is also beneficial because they are old enough to understand when you want to explain some things to them and they are also able to stand still long enough to see how you cast a line, wait for the fish to bite and reel in a catch. Of course, it goes without saying that once a young child actually reels in their first catch, they will be hooked on this fantastic pastime.
2. Get Them Their Own Fishing Gear
By the age of about 6 or 7, kids are good enough at hand to eye coordination and will have absolutely no problems putting a worm on a hook and casting their own lines. However, your enormous fishing rod may not be the best piece of equipment for your youngster to start fishing with. Fortunately, fishing gear comes in junior sizes so you can get your child their own, appropriately sized, fishing rod. Don’t stop with just the rod though. Make sure their gear also includes a matching fishing reel and a small tackle box full of lures, sinkers and a few other essentials. The only thing you may want to hold off on giving them is a fishing knife. At least until they know how to work with sharp objects.
3. Start With Lures Instead Of Live Bait
Putting a worm on a hook is a rite of passage when it comes to learning the fine art of fishing but fishing hooks are sharp and pointy with a barb at the tip that can be tricky and dangerous for small hands. It may be better to use lures when introducing a kid to fishing in the early stages to avoid them getting hurt and then being reluctant to go fishing again. If you really want to use worms or other live bait, show your child how to secure it on the hook, but don’t make them do this just yet.
4. Spend A Day On The Water
Kids are fascinated by water and love to play in or around water. One of the best ways to introduce fishing to kids is to go out on a boat or fishing kayak for a few hours or the whole day. Bring along some lunch boxes, drinks and snacks and all the fishing gear you will need. You’ll have your child’s complete attention because there is nowhere else for them to go. Better still is if the fish are biting. In all the excitement, your young person is going to forget about the smartphone and game consoles sitting on the desk at home.
Being on the water is also a constant source of entertainment. There are usually a variety of birds flying around and other boats. Not to mention the beautiful views of the mainland from a new perspective. And if the fish are especially active, they will be visible from the boat and some may even jump out of the water and into the air for a bit of an aquatic show.
5. Combine Fishing And Camping
Kids love a good adventure and sleeping outdoors is usually a good start. Grab your large camping tent and the rest of your camping gear and pack it with your fishing gear. Find a nice place to set up camp, keeping in mind that you need to find a nice spot near the beach, a lake or a stream. Part of the experience of camping and fishing is cooking any fish you catch over the campfire. Many happy childhood memories have and should involve a weekend camping and fishing trip.
6. Teach Them To Eat What They Catch
There is nothing more rewarding than presenting your catch of the day on the dining table as the main course. If your child is the one that caught one or more of the fish than they will be bursting with pride at sharing their catch with the family. Not only will this motivate them to go fishing with you again and again, but they will also develop healthy eating habits. Nutritionists recommend we eat fish once or twice a week and the fresh fish is always going to be better than frozen, crumbed and processed fish products. Kids should see what whole fish looks and tastes like. They will certainly know this if they regularly go fishing with you.
Many of us have heard the saying, “Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he can eat every day.” While this may be a little over the top for a child, teaching them to fish is a skill that they will never forget. But more importantly, it will give them a passion for outdoor activity which is something they will love as kids and take with them into adulthood.