Summer's here, bringing with it beautiful, lazy days perfect for going fishing. Fishing is a rewarding sport—your family can get away from hectic schedules to enjoy the fresh air, learn about the environment, and even develop patience. Best of all, fishing is quality time spent together talking, laughing, and even sitting quietly side by side. It can be an ideal sport for little kids, if you introduce it in a positive way.
When fishing with young children, there are a few things to consider for your fishing trip to be a success.
- The location
- The amount of time spent fishing
- Children's physical limitations
- Safety and regulations
With a little preparation and the right supplies, you'll surely be rewarded with comments such as this, from proud five-year-old Max, who announced after his first catch of the day: "I caught all my fish by myself!"
If you're choosing to fish from shore, find an easily accessible area. A short drive and a short walk to your spot are best; remember, the goal is to introduce a great sport to your new angler. You don't want your child so tired when you get there that he or she will be unhappy and unable to enjoy fishing. Fishing from shore also provides other diversions for young children—they can take a break to toss pebbles into the water, dig in the dirt, or play with a toy you've brought along.
During this introduction process, set your child up for success by choosing a spot where you know there are fish. If possible, choose a shallow area where tiny fish can be seen. Preschoolers don't have the luxury of waiting a few hours just to catch a fish or two. If you want to keep them excited and involved, you'll have to go where the action is.
Time Your Trip
The length of time spent fishing will be determined by your child's age. Be prepared to stay only as long as your child is interested—maybe a half hour or so on your first outing. Don't turn what can be a new adventure into a grueling marathon for your little one. If after a while your child is running all over and isn't paying attention, it's time to go.
Claude, father of Alex (age four) and Max (age five), recalls his initial experience. "Our first fishing adventure was hectic. Alex was sitting quietly holding the rod with all his might and Max was fidgeting all over the place. I realize now maybe I should have been on two little trips, with each child individually. Overall we thought it was fun and we did something together; that was my goal."