When I was graduating from college one of my final reports I wrote was on kids and fishing. I posted on a couple forums about experiences while fishing with kids. One guy posted “Dan when you have kids you will understand why I don’t take my kids fishing.” I was dumbfounded by that statement and it really angered me.
Since then I have had the privilege of fishing with my little cousins, my niece, my friends son and several other young kids. When this happens I expect to fish very little. We always have a great time no matter how many fish we catch. They are always excited to reel in the fish. After a day of fishing, I always pull the boat out with a smile on my face. The kids usually do not want to stop. Most of the time the parents are telling me how the kids are always asking to go fishing. If I hear this I know I did my job and introduce another lover of the outdoors.
It is so important to encourage our youth in the outdoors. That also includes getting non-youth in the outdoors as well. Here are some pointers when heading the water to fish.
Encourage, encourage, encourage
- Always offer encouraging advice. Don’t put them down.
- Work on their timing.
- When they are done, they are done. On average, a young kid who is new to outdoors will only last 2 hours in my experience. I do take a kid fishing from time to time who would fish all day if I let him. Do not force a kid to fish if they don’t want to. If you do, they may never fish again.
- Bring food and toys. Makeup games on the water
- Fishing can be pretty boring from time to time as you might know. Make sure to bring stuff for them to do outside of video games.
- Make a big deal out of every fish they catch no matter the size
- When they catch a fish always encourage them. Offer gentle instructions on how to land the fish. When they land the fish show them the fish and have fun with it. Let them feel like they accomplished something and caught in all on their own. I like to have a camera on me at all times and love to take photos of them with their catch. They will then be able to remember it and show all their friends.
- Do not bring video games
- The point of being outdoors in enjoying what God created with no distractions. This includes cell phones. Figure out different way to entertain them. This may include just letting them play in the mud or play with the bait. Turn this into an educational event by teaching them about the outdoors.
- Don’t go after tough fish that might not offer a lot of action
- Take them fishing for panfish or bass. You need action to keep them entertained. Over time move them up to the fish that requires need patient.
- Know your state laws on life jackets for youth and keep them safe
- In most states there is a requirement for kids to use life jackets on a boat. The age depends on the state. Kids will be all over. If they are staying safe though do not get angry with them when they might get into something if it won’t hurt them. If you have too many rules they won’t want to fish with you next time.
- Kids love stories
- If I have an older kid I love to share stories with them. It gets them excited about what might bite. It will encourage them to pay more attention to their fishing pole.
- Encourage proper ethics.
- Always make sure to encourage proper ethics such as catch and release or limiting their kill but eating what they catch. Don’t encourage bad ethics like snagging, leaving trash, not sharing the resource, etc.
Always try to make fishing fun for them. Let their curiosity run and let them explore the awesome outdoors we have here in Michigan. If you do this correctly you will have a fishing buddy for life. They might even stay out of trouble due to fishing like I did.
If we don’t introduce kids to the outdoors whether there yours or someone else’s, there will be no one to take care of the fisheries when we leave this world. They will never know how fun and exciting fishing can be. It’s our job to pass it on to the next generation.
If you have any other advice that I might have missed please leave me a comment below or on social media to pass on to others.
If you would like to take a kid on a fishing trip in the SE Michigan area, I offered a very affordable basic fishing trip. We go back to the basic using crawlers and bobbers. Call me if you would like to set up a trip (248-229-7226) or check out my website.
If you would like to follow along with our adventures, check out our social media links below:
“Like” us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Greatlakesedge/
“Follow” us on Instagram: https://instagram.com/chromeseekerdan/
“Tweet” us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Chromeseekers