5 Tips to Get Kids Hooked on Fishing
by PJ Delhomme
Convincing young kids that fishing is fun can be tough. Sitting on a bucket at the end of a pier holding a fishing pole might be your idea of the perfect day, but you’re competing against video games, Netflix, and organized sports. Can you blame a kid for not wanting to go fishing? Yet if you plan ahead and consider a few tips I’ve learned (the hard way) in getting my kids to fish, I promise they will be happily ripping lips in no time.
1. Bribe Them
“Because I said so” is my go-to when kids attempt to argue with me about chores or homework. That doesn’t work when I’m trying to get them interested in fishing; the technique has to be more diplomatic. I play to each kid’s addiction. My daughter likes Swedish Fish. My son likes to listen to podcasts. I dole out a candy ration before the fishing trip, promising Olivia the same amount after an hour on the water. My son listens to podcasts on the way to the fishing hole and on the way home.
2. Find a Kid-friendly Spot
Not every fishing hole is created equal, and most communities have lakes, ponds, or other water bodies they stock with fish. These places are great for the little ones because the fish are typically easy to catch. It makes you look like a pro (to them), and it gives them confidence knowing they can actually catch a fish. Plus, if you don’t get a bite in the first 20 minutes, you’ll be hard-pressed to get them back out there. A quick internet search of your local area is a good place to start. Ask the folks behind the fishing counter at your local sporting goods store, too. Also, keep your eyes open for any Union Sportsmen’s Alliance fishing events in your area.
3. Resist the Urge to Fish
At first, it might be hard to leave your own fishing gear in the truck, but try it. With two young kids learning to cast a spinner reel, I ran from one to the other, constantly cutting and detangling lines. By not fishing yourself, you’re able to devote your time to talking to your kids and actually teaching them. If they ask you to cast, then cast for them. But let them reel it in, especially if there’s a fish on.
4. Bring Friends
Peer pressure is great when used responsibly. I’m amazed at what I can get my kids to do as long as their friends are involved. Convince another parent or two to meet you at the pond or offer to take their kid fishing with you. Once you get a couple friends into the mix, the focus will be less on catching fish and more on having fun.
5. Lower the Bar
Chances are, you’re not going to catch a five-pound largemouth bass or spend all day on the water, and that’s just fine. If kids fish for more than an hour without a bite, consider yourself lucky. Also, consider taking all the pressure off by hiring a guide. Find tips on that and plenty more on fishing for crappie here. Just remember to slow down and enjoy any time you spend outdoors with your kids. Ask any grandparent, and they will tell you that it goes by way too fast.
PJ DelHomme writes and edits content from his home in western Montana. He runs Crazy Canyon Media and Crazy Canyon Journal.
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