Quality time with your family is important, but it isn’t always easy to organize something which is at the same time fun and relaxing. If you have run out of ideas for ways to spend your weekends or your children’s holidays, perhaps you should consider putting your fishing hat on and hitting the road for a fishing trip.
Not only is it an inexpensive past time, but it has the added benefit of pulling your kids – and you, for that matter – away from technology and allowing you to savor the peace and quiet that nature has to offer, breathing fresh air and basking in the sun.
Everyone has busy, hectic lives and too little time to spare for outdoor activities, where you can simply wind back and recharge your batteries. This is particularly unhealthy for developing children who need to be out in the sunlight so that their bodies can produce the vitamin D necessary to properly absorb calcium.
A fishing trip is, therefore, not only an educational hobby for your kids to take up but also a healthy activity which can boost their curiosity, stimulate their patience and refine your parenting skills.
Whether you are a passionate angler or an occasional fisherman, there are a few things you should know before taking your kids fishing for the first time.
Organize in advance
If you suspect your kids may be reticent to trying out fishing as a pastime activity, you may want to introduce them slowly to the idea before going on an actual trip. Take them for walks out in nature, on lake or river banks. Show them other anglers “at work”, highlighting all the benefits of fishing.
The next step, once you manage to arouse your kids’ curiosity, is to teach them the essentials of fishing at home, prior to the day you set out on your fishing trip. Train them about the basics of fishing, such as how to use a rod, how to set up a fishing line, how to make a fishing knot and the different types of fishing bait.
Find a suitable place outdoors for them to exercise casting the rod, making sure to emphasize the importance of safety measures.
On the day of the trip, make sure you pack all the gear you need. Grab some snacks, water and sunscreen in a waterproof backpack, a first aid kit and – if you’re feeling lucky – an ice box to store all the prey you are going to catch.
Where to cast your fishing rod
Location is one of the most important factors to consider when going fishing with your kids. Children can easily lose interest if the angling session is not as bountiful as expected. Try to scout out a body of water with plenty of fish to increase the chances for a satisfying trip. Also, if your kids are just starting to learn about fishing, you should focus your attention on species which are easy to catch, so that they feel encouraged to persevere in this sport.
If you are unsure about which is the best location for your fishing trip, or if you want to explore new places, you will be amazed at how much you can learn by simply visiting the nearest tackle shop. Not only will you be able to upgrade your gear, but you will also find out vital information about local fishing regulations and whether or not you need a license.
For parents going fishing with small children, we advise that the best and safest choice of a location would be somewhere with a fishing platform or a body of water where you can fish right from the bank. This way there will be no need for you to worry about your kids losing balance and falling into the water.
What fishing gear to bring along
The first and most important item to equip yourself and your children with is patience. Children can be boisterous and unpredictable, they will easily become frustrated if they fail to master the techniques or if there is no catch for a significant period of time.
Do not bring along gear that is complicated to use and keep in mind that your kids might have a hard time handling adult sized equipment. Go for a lightweight rod to which you simply attach a bobber and the bait.
The visual effect will entertain your kids, as they will be able to clearly see when a fish has bitten their bait, pulling down the bobber. Bring along a spool of line in case you need replacement.
Last but definitely not least, if you are going anywhere near deep waters or if you intend to be fishing off any floating devices, it is vital as well as required by the law to equip your kids with life vests in the event that they lose their footing and fall overboard. Make sure the vests are properly sized for each child’s age and physique to avoid accidents and discomfort. You wouldn’t forget about fishing waders for women or men if you were to go fishing all by yourself, so you need to think about the safety and comfort of your child, too.
If you are a first time angler yourself
If you are a novice yourself, you may want to do some research before embarking on a fishing trip along with your kids. Go to any tackle store nearby for guidance on which gear to purchase, how to use it, where to fish and which learning resources to use.
An online search can teach you a lot about various techniques you can try as a first time angler. You may find it helpful to practice on your own until you get the hang of it before venturing out on a fishing trip with your kids.
Also, you should never go fishing for the first time without learning about the safety measures and local regulations, in order not to accidentally break any law or fish without a permit.
As stated before, patience is the key to a successful fishing session, and even more so for a first timer whose expectations may not be fully realistic in terms of the prey they can catch. If you choose to bring your kids along, do focus on them rather than the fishing and make it about quality time together rather than a race for the greatest catch.